The MAAC and I had an understanding: The conference could do whatever it wanted -- Jacksonville could play with hammers and sickles if they thought it'd help them create some turnovers (and lead a political revolution!); Detroit could soak their cleats in gasoline and light them on fire if the Titans thought it'd help them run faster; Manhattan could change its name to New Amsterdam to avoid the suffocating misery of their recent play (kind of like declaring yourself dead for tax purposes); etc. -- as long as the league's best team (which has arguably been Siena over the last half-decade or so) would eventually top the conference and serve as the MAAC's NCAA Tournament representative.
And then 2012 happened, a season in which the MAAC squelched on its deal by adopting full-blown chaos and having Canisius -- via an upset of the Saints in the MAAC Tournament championship that still puts people in a cold sweat because nothing is true or real anymore -- represent the conference in lacrosse's May adventure. I demand liquidated damages, MAAC! Liquidated damages, I say!
Anyway, 2013 kind of has the look of late-2012 -- the potential is there for things to go sideways in a hurry. Without a truly dominant team in the conference this spring, what the conference looks and plays like in late-April could differ significantly from its dossier profile in late-February. That's a good thing, I think, and the league's coaches have ascribed to that theory:
The Siena College Saints were selected as the top team in MAAC Men's Lacrosse in 2013, according to the league's seven head coaches.
Siena, last year's regular season champions, went 11-5 overall and 6-0 in the MAAC in 2012. The Saints have not lost a league game since April 2, 2011 at University of Detroit Mercy. Siena will return 2012 First Team All-MAAC and MAAC All-Tournament Team selection Danny Martinsen, as well as 2012 First Team All-MAAC defense selection Brendan Meehan. Siena's head coach John Svec, who was named 2012 Anaconda Sports MAAC Coach of the Year, returns for his second seasons at the helm of the Saints.
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Marist College finished second in the poll with 39 points. Canisius, the defending MAAC champion was third with 36 points, followed by University of Detroit Mercy (28), Jacksonville University (25), Virginia Military Institute (15) and Manhattan College (8).
Some brief notes:
- I'm not sure that Siena is six votes better than second-place in the poll (right now), but it is interesting to see that the Saints -- at least internally -- are thought to be notably above the rest of their peers.
- The logjam between Marist and Canisius is reality -- the teams are somewhat interchangeable, but have fewer issues than the tier below them. Both have the potential to jump Siena, but both still have questions that keep them -- at least right now -- just below the top of the hierarchy. How those teams perform against the meaty middle of the MAAC is a huge storyline in the conference this season.
- I like Detroit a little more than three votes better than Jacksonville, but I understand why the coaches ended up keeping the Dolphins within close distance of the Titans. The race for the league's fourth tournament spot is going to be hectic with four teams -- Marist, Canisius, Detroit, and Jacksonville -- fighting for three positions. All four of these squads are capable of making the league's playoff, even if the tiering in the preseason voting isn't totally indicative of that.
In addition to the preseason poll, the conference's coaches: (1) picked Siena's Danny Martinsen as the league's preseason player of the year; and (2) selected an all-league team that that saw Siena and Marist each put three representatives on the honor roll.