Limestone Picked Atop Conference Carolinas
from press release
GAFFNEY, S.C. – The Limestone College men's lacrosse program, following a 12-2 overall record and a perfect 8-0 mark in league play, has been chosen as the Conference Carolinas Preseason No. 1 as released in the conference's annual poll. The Saints are followed in the poll by Queens University and Belmont Abbey.
Limestone College first year head men's lacrosse coach J.B. Clarke inherits a team that returns five starters including, 13 players that saw in action in the Saints' 2010 NCAA Division II national semifinal game. In all, Limestone posted a solid 12-2 mark last season, winning both the Conference Carolinas regular season and tournament championships while representing its region in the NCAA Division II Tournament for the 11th consecutive season.
"It is quite an honor to be chosen by our fellow Conference Carolinas coaches as the top preseason team" said Clarke. "The work of the many players and coaches who have come before us has placed the Limestone lacrosse program in high regards - and I am humbled to be a part of this".
Among the returnees on attack are Riley Loewen (Burnaby, British Columbia) who is the leading returning scorer after tallying 39 points (30 goals, 9 assists) as a freshman, posting a .700-plus shot on goal percentage and totaled 18 groundballs. Riley appeared in all 14 games, staring 12. Senior Jeff Santo (Timonium, Md.) is back as well after totaling 14 points (9g, 5a), 22 ground balls and forcing five turnovers while appearing in all 14 games.
Limestone's attack unit will be bolstered by the return of pre-season senior All-American Thomas Langan (Potomac, Md.) who missed last season due to injury. Langan, who is one of the four captains for this season, as a junior in 2009 was the Saints second leading scorer as he totaled 34 points thanks in part to 31 goals (3 assists). He also led the team with a .707 SOG percentage in addition to tallying 20 groundballs, forcing five turnovers and playing in all 14 games. For the strong effort, Langan earned Second-Team All-Conference Carolinas honors.
The Saints deep midfield is headlined by the return of senior captain Sam Buppert (Eldersburg, Md.), junior Jackson Decker (Port Moody, British Columbia) and senior Brian Patridge (Columbus, Oh). Buppert forced 17 turnovers and appeared in all 14 games while ranking second on the team with 33 ground balls. He also scored 16 points on 14 goals and two assists.
Decker is second among returning goal scorers, tallying 17 last year and, combined with nine assists, gave him 26 points for the third best mark of returnees. He played in all 14 games with 13 starts and also sported a shot-on-goal percentage in excess of .580 and recorded 17 ground balls. Patridge, who had a .676 shot-on-goal percentage is the second returning scorer after totaling 28 points thanks to 16 goals and 12 assists. He started five of the 13 games that he appeared in and registered 12 groundballs.
Also bolstering the midfield are sophomore Joshua Williams (Davidsonville, Md.) as well as juniors Mason Mundell (Severna Park, Md.) and Randy Waugh (Severna Park, Md.). Williams totaled five points (3g, 2a) and 11 ground balls, while Mundell had 17 groundballs. Waugh also notched 17 groundballs and showed scoring capability with 10 goals and 16 points (6a). All three appeared in all 14 games while Mundell had eight starts.
Junior Brian Hogan (West Islip, N.Y.) and senior captain Ken Kerr (Pasadena, Md.) return as part of a defense that yielded just over six goals per game a year ago and is bolstered by the return of preseason All-American and senior co-captain Spencer Wims who redshirted last season. Wims, a three-time All-Conference selection, earned 2009 First-Team USILA (United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association) Division II All-America honors for his role as a "shutdown" defender as he was often matched up against the opponent's top scorer.
He appeared in all 14 games, hustling to 29 groundballs and scored a pair of goals as well. In 2009, Wims earned both First Team All-Conference and Conference Carolinas All-Tournament team honors. Hogan appeared in every game last season, starting 13, with 15 groundballs and seven caused turnovers while Kerr had three caused turnovers, five groundballs and appeared in nine games.
The Saints will also be experienced between the pipes with the return of goalie Steve Gartelman (Seaford, N.Y.) who posted a 5.92 goals against average and .563 save percentage over 2010's 14-game campaign.
Limestone opens their 2011 season on Wednesday February 16 when they begin defense of the Conference Carolinas Championship at league foe Lees-McRae. Start time for that contest is slated for 1:00 p.m. The home opener at "The Rock" is scheduled for Saturday March 19 against conference rival Belmont Abbey, also at 1:00 p.m.
"Personally, I do not put much into the preseason poll" added Clarke. "With graduation and the many variables that go into college athletics, it is very difficult to predict the outcome of the season. This conference is so deep and talented that the difference between any of us is minimal. What I am certain of is that the Saints are working hard preparing for a tremendously challenging Conference Carolinas schedule. We are focused on one game at a time".
Limestone has represented its region in the NCAA Division II National Tournament in each of the previous 11 seasons reaching the national championship game six consecutive seasons, 2000-2005. The Saints were Division II National Champions in 2000 and 2002.
2011 Conference Carolinas Preseason Coaches
1. Limestone (4) 24
2. Queens University (2) 22
3. Belmont Abbey 17
4. Pfeiffer 13
5. St. Andrews Presbyterian 8
6. Lees-McRae 6