Dec 10, 2013, 1:23 PM EDT
Inside Lacrosse launched its digital 2014 Face-Off Yearbook which featured the 2014 Division I Top 20 Preseason Rankings and the 2014 All-American selections chosen by the IL staff this week. Two CAA Men’s Lacrosse squads were ranked among the Top 20 – Penn State and Towson, while six players were named All-Americans.
Penn State, which was the CAA’s 2013 regular season champions, was ranked eighth by both the IL staff and the IL coaches committee. Towson, which won the 2013 CAA title, was ranked No. 20 by the IL staff and 21 by the IL coaches committee.
The Nittany Lions will face six teams from IL’s Preseason Top 20: No. 4 Notre Dame, No. 5 Denver, No. 7 Ohio State, No. 12 Albany, No. 18 Villanova and No. 20 Towson. The Tigers will face four teams from IL’s Preseason Top 20: No. 8 Penn State, No. 11 Penn, No. 14 Johns Hopkins and No. 19 Loyola.
Both PSU and Towson crossed milestones a year ago and look to build upon those feats. Last season was one of Penn State’s finest in school history as the Nittany Lions amassed a school-record 12 victories, an undefeated regular season CAA title and its third NCAA Tournament appearance, which happened to be Penn State’s first home NCAA game. The Tigers won the 2013 CAA Championship as the No. 3 seed, and reached the NCAA Tournament, finishing 10-8 overall. It was Towson’s first league title since 2005 and first NCAA Tournament berth since 2007.
Inside Lacrosse also released their staff selections for Division I All-Americans as six CAA student-athletes were highlighted on the preseason honors. Penn State saw three members selected, led by 2013 CAA Player and Defensive Player of the Year Austin Kaut, a senior goalie, was tabbed preseason first-team All-America. Senior midfielder Tom LaCrosse and sophomore attackman TJ Sanders earned honorable mention from the Inside Lacrosse staff.
Kaut, who has a lengthy list of honors pacing him to becoming the nation’s top goalie, posted a career year with a 7.37 goals-against average (third in the nation) while making a career-high 194 saves a year ago. Kaut also stopped 61 percent of shots on goal (second in the nation) and registered a 12-5 record for the Nittany Lions during their historic season. Kaut saved 10 or more shots in 12 of 17 games including three 16-save performances.
LaCrosse showed his guts and guile by carving up opposing defenses to the tune of 23 goals, five assists and 28 points: all career highs in 2013. LaCrosse also collected 17 ground balls and caused three turnovers, proving to be one of Penn State’s most aggressive players on the attacking end.
Sanders, the leading scorer on the team from last season with 44 goals, tied for 15th in the nation in goals per game (2.59) following a stellar freshman season in 2013. Sanders was named the CAA’s Rookie of the Year after leading the conference in scoring, while garnering a spot in the All-CAA Second Team, the only freshman recognized on either of the All-CAA teams.
Drexel senior midfielder Ben McIntosh garnered preseason second-team All-American honors. McIntosh is coming off one of the best offensive seasons of any midfielder in Drexel history. McIntosh scored 38 goals, handed out 18 assists and finished with 56 points. He finished second in the CAA in both goals and points per game a year ago.
Towson senior attackman Thomas Napoli was earned preseason third-team All-America accolades. He was the team’s leading scorer with 41 goals and 19 assists (60pts) and was the first Tiger to score 40-plus goals in a season since 2001. Napoli was a CAA first-team honoree a year ago.
Joining LaCrosse and Sanders earning honorable mention was Hofstra senior goalkeeper Chris Selva. Selva, who earned All-CAA second-team in 2013, started all 14 games. He ranked fifth in Division I in goals against average with a 7.61 average and was fourth in save percentage with a .602 mark with 159 saves.
2014 IL PRESEASON MEDIA POLL (IL Coaches ranking in parentheses)
1 – Duke (1)
2 – Syracuse (3)
3 – North Carolina (2)
4 – Notre Dame (6)
5 – Denver (4)
6 – Maryland (5)
7 – Ohio State (11)
8 – PENN STATE (8)
9 – Virginia (14)
10 – Yale (7)
11 – Penn (19)
12 – Albany (15)
13 – Princeton (10)
14 – Johns Hopkins (9)
15 – Bucknell (16)
16 – St. John’s (20)
17 – Cornell (13)
18 – Villanova (18)
19 – Loyola (12)
20 – TOWSON (21)
The Face-Off Yearbook rankings are a subjective ranking agreed upon by the whole IL staff. They’re a consensus built from an analysis of last year’s results, graduated and returning players, new additions and other off-season events that have impacted each team since the end of 2013.
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