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2015 College Lacrosse Preview: Loyola Tabbed as Patriot League Preseason Favorite

The Greyhounds will enter 2015 as an unbeaten-in-Patriot League-play demigod.

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Loyola entered the Patriot League in 2014 for its inaugural run through the most Declaration of Independence-loving league in the nation and promptly acted like a dictator ruling with a despotic fist of injustice over its "equals": An unblemished run through the conference regular season and postseason event merited the Greyhounds a reality in which it is the only team in Patriot League history to be unbeaten in Patriot League competition. As things stand now, the Patriot League's coaches and SID's may not believe that the 'Hounds will stay perfect in the conference through 2015, but Loyola will enter the year as the league's favorite. From the press release:

Loyola Maryland graduated five All-Patriot League players, including the 2014 Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year. Despite the losses, look for the Greyhounds to reload instead of rebuild in 2015, according to a preseason poll of League coaches and sports information directors.

Loyola received 12 first place votes in a process where voters are not eligible to rank their own team. The Greyhounds totaled 123 points to outdistance Army and Lehigh. The Black Knights received one first place vote and 110 points, one point clear of the Mountain Hawks at 109 even though Lehigh received five first place nods.

Here's how the voting shook out:

1. Loyola 12 123
2. Army 1 110
3. Lehigh 5 109
4. Bucknell 81
5. Colgate 75
6. Navy 56
7. Boston University 46
8. Lafayette 26
9. Holy Cross 22

Based on the point tabulations some noticeable tiering is visible in the voting: Tier I -- Loyola, earning 12 of 18 first-place votes, is the biggest bully in the freedom yard; Tier II -- Army and Lehigh in the oddest point totaling of the year with the Hawks earning five first-place votes while still trailing the Cadets; Tier III -- Colgate and Bucknell, reasonably bunched together; Tier IV -- Navy and Boston University, gapped but still in the same caste of the hierarchy; and Tier V -- Lafayette and Holy Cross, co-mayors of Uglytown. For comparison purposes, here's how College Crosse projected the Patriot League going into the season.

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

A John Glesener Army Sr.
A Nikko Pontrello Loyola Sr.
A Dan Taylor Lehigh Sr.
M Thomas Flibotte Bucknell Jr.
M Brian Sherlock Loyola So.
M Gabe Voumard Navy Sr.
D Pat Frazier Loyola Sr.
D Lukas Mikelinich Lehigh Sr.
D Matt Yeager Colgate Sr.
F/O Alex Daly Army Jr.
LSM Ryan Fournier Loyola So.
LSM Alex Spring Bucknell Jr.
GK Matt Poillon Lehigh Sr.