|Connor Kirkwood||Mike Modesti||Tim Dolan|
The University of Scranton has been picked second in the 2019 Landmark Conference men's lacrosse preseason poll which was released on Wednesday. The Royals totaled 39 points and received one first place vote in the balloting of the league's seven head coaches.
Scranton has its sights set on a ninth straight trip to the Landmark Conference playoffs this season while the Royals are seeking their first conference title since 2011.
Two-time defending Landmark Conference champion Elizabethtown was selected as the preseason favorite as the Blue Jays amassed 60 points and six first place votes.
With 39 points, Scranton was slotted just one point ahead of Susquehanna, who came in third in the poll with 38 points after finishing as the Landmark Conference runner-up while Goucher followed in fourth place with 23 points.
Moravian (15 points) came in fifth in the balloting, Catholic (13 points) was picked sixth, and Drew (8 points) rounded out the poll in seventh place.
Scranton, which will be led by second-year head coach Michael Hofmeister, posted a 10-7 overall record last spring and earned the fourth seed in the Landmark Conference playoffs with a 4-2 mark in league contests. The Royals dropped a 13-7 decision at top-seeded Susquehanna in the semifinal round of the postseason tournament.
Scranton welcomes back three players who earned All-Landmark Conference honors last season including a pair of First Team honorees in junior attack Connor Kirkwood (Millburn, N.J./St. Peter's Prep) and junior midfielder Mike Modesti (Fairport, N.Y./Fairport). Additionally, senior attack Tim Dolan (Garden City, N.Y./Garden City) garnered Second Team laurels last spring.
Kirkwood broke Scranton's all-time record for goals in a season with 45 last spring and is 22nd all-time with 63 career tallies. Modesti excelled as mainly on the defensive side of the ball as a short-stick midfielder and contributed two goals, six assists, and 11 groundballs while Dolan ranked second on the Royals scoring chart with 42 points.
Offensively, Scranton returns five of its top-six point producers last spring in Kirkwood, Dolan, junior attack Quinn Killeen (Berkeley Heights, N.J./New Providence), junior midfielder Michael Elefonte (Kinnelon, N.J./Kinnelon), and junior midfielder Joe Hill (South Hempstead, N.Y./South Side).
Junior Gordon Paul (Ocean, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) and sophomore Michael Grant (Malverne, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) will look to lead a Scranton defense that allowed 11.24 goals against per game last season.
Sophomore midfielder Collin Purdy Hillsborough, N.J./Hillsborough) led the Royals by winning 68.2 percent (75-of-110) of his face-offs in 2018.
The Royals are replacing graduated goalkeeper Jeff Sabatini who started 15 of the team's 17 games last spring season. Sophomore Shayne Fallon (West Deptford, N.J./West Deptford) led returning netminders with 31 saves in 166:01 minutes of action between the pipes a year ago. He appeared in five games and made two starts.
Carroll played in eight games last season, including five as a starter, in 2018, helping the Royals go 6-2 in those contests while collected three caused turnovers.
Holmes played in all 17 games during his rookie season and made seven starts in the midfield, totaling seven goals and picking up 14 ground balls on the year.
Scranton will open the 2019 season on Saturday, February 16 at Marywood starting at 1 p.m. The Royals will play their home opener the following day at 3 p.m. against King's in the team's first-ever game on Weiss Field.
Scranton's Landmark Conference opener is set for Saturday, March 23 at Susquehanna.
2019 Landmark Men's Lacrosse Preseason Poll
() indicates first-place votes
- Elizabethtown – 60 points (6)
- Scranton – 39 points (1)
- Susquehanna – 38 points
- Goucher – 23 points
- Moravian – 15 points
- Catholic – 13 points
- Drew – 8 points