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2015 College Lacrosse Preview: Notre Dame Picked as ACC Preseason Favorite

The Irish are the league's marked team going into the spring.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The ACC will have a different look in 2015 than it had in the past: With the departure of a former league cornerstone in Maryland, the conference will press on with a five-team look that will remain one of the most impressive and competitive leagues in the nation. While this is somewhat familiar to the ACC, embarking on a voyage without the Terrapins -- and instead accepting the comforting presence of Notre Dame and Syracuse, two relatively new faces that are still working the room -- will require a degree of accepting a new-ish reality. One of those realities has come into focus immediately: The Fighting Irish, with all of one year of ACC competition in their history books, have been named the conference's preseason favorite.

The press release:

Reigning ACC Champion Notre Dame has been selected as the preseason favorite in the 2015 ACC Men’s Lacrosse Preseason Poll. The announcement comes in conjunction with Inside Lacrosse’s release of its annual Face-Off Yearbook.

Here's how the voting shook out:

1. Notre Dame 3 23
2. Syracuse 2 22
3. North Carolina
4. Duke 10
5. Virginia 7

Based on the point tabulations some light tiering in the voting is visible: Tier I -- Notre Dame and Syracuse, the only programs receiving first-place votes, stand alone at the top of the table; Tier II -- North Carolina, Duke, and Virginia, the three teams separated by a mere six points, are -- from the top of the tier -- nine points from Tier I. It is somewhat surprising to see such a notable gap between Tier I and Tier II, which is likely the residue of the league's coaches mixing and matching where the Heels, Devils, and Cavs finished in positions three through five on their individual ballots and remaining fairly consistent in their treatment of Notre Dame and Syracuse as the conference's top two teams.

As for preseason all-league honors, here's the full preseason All-ACC team:

A Matt Kavanagh Notre Dame Jr.
A Kevin Rice Syracuse Sr.
A Joey Sankey North Carolina Sr.
M Deemer Class Duke Jr.
M Myles Jones Duke Jr.
M Chad Tutton North Carolina Sr.
D Brandon Mullins Syracuse R-Jr.
D Austin Pifani North Carolina So.
D Tanner Scales Virginia Jr.
F/O Stephen Kelly North Carolina So.
LSM Ryan Kilpatrick North Carolina Sr.
SSDM Will Haus Duke Sr.
GK Kieran Burke North Carolina Jr.