Dec. 19, 2001
Dec. 19, 2001
Bucknell (19th), Army (20th) and Hobart (23rd) were among the nationally-ranked teams in the 2002 Face-Off Yearbook pre-season coaches poll issued by Inside Lacrosse Magazine. Bucknell (10-4, 6-0 PL) is the defending Patriot League champion while Hobart (5-7, 5-1 PL) finished second and Army (8-6, 4-2 PL) was third.
The magazine also released its preseason All-America teams, and Army Sr. attack Tim Pearson was a second-team pre-season All-America selection.
Bucknell's Kevin Smithies (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown H.S.), Justin Sussman (Towson, Md./Friends Academy) and Hobart Jr. midfielder Tim Booth (Waterloo/Waterloo, N.Y.) were cited as honorable mention honorees.
The Bison are the highest-ranked Patriot League team in the preseason poll, one spot ahead of No. 20 Army and four notches above No. 23 Hobart. Princeton is the preseason No. 1 choice in a close vote over Syracuse. Johns Hopkins, Towson, Virginia, Maryland, Georgetown, Loyola, Duke and Hofstra round out the top 10.
Notre Dame, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Navy, Cornell, Penn State, Brown, UMBC, Bucknell, Army, Delaware, Ohio State, Hobart, Rutgers and Harvard complete the top 25.
Bucknell's 2002 schedule features seven teams ranked in the top 25, including home contests against No. 6 Maryland, No. 13 North Carolina, No. 20 Army and No. 25 Harvard. The Bison will visit No. 7 Georgetown, No. 16 Penn State and No. 23 Hobart this spring.
The Statesmen open the 2002 season, the program's 100th, at sixth-ranked Maryland. Hobart last tangled with the Terrapins during the 1995 season. Hobart returns to Geneva for its home opener on March 2, hosting Vermont. The Statesmen also have home dates with No. 7 Georgetown, No. 15, Cornell, No. 16 Penn State, and No. 19 Bucknell. In addition to Maryland, Hobart will travel to second-ranked Syracuse, No. 8 Loyola, and No. 20 Army.
Smithies, a senior defenseman and 2002 team co-captain, and Sussman, a two-year starting goalie, were both Second Team All-Patriot League selections last season as the Bison racked up a 10-4 record (6-0 Patriot League) and a conference championship.
A 6'4", 210-pound close defenseman, Smithies started all 14 games for the Bison a year ago and ranked third on the team with 51 ground balls. He anchored a Herd defense that ranked seventh nationally in scoring defense, allowing only 7.93 goals per game.
Sussman led the Patriot League and ranked seventh nationally in both goals-against average (7.83) and save percentage (.622) last season. The latter figure was 10th-best in Bucknell history.
Booth led Hobart in ground balls (55) and faceoff percentage last season. He won 96 of the 157 faceoffs he took in 2001 for a .611 success rate that ranked 10th best in the nation. In two seasons, Booth has accumulated 10 goals, seven assists, 93 ground balls, and a .540 faceoff percentage (167-of-309).
When the 2002 campaign kicks off on Feb. 23, the Statesmen will be under new leadership for just the sixth time since 1927. Matt Kerwick '90 returns to his alma mater with 10 seasons of coaching experience, including the past three as the top assistant coach at Georgetown University.
Hobart finished the 2001 season with a 5-7 overall record, and finished second in the Patriot League with a 5-1 mark. The Statesmen return 30 letter winners, including five starters, from that squad.