Central Islip, N.Y. – In a vote by the conference's coaches, the NYIT men's lacrosse team was a unanimous pick as the favorite to win the East Coast Conference Championship in the league's 2017 preseason poll. NYIT senior teammates, Tom Hughes (Port Jefferson, N.Y.) and Alex Seltzer (Plainview, N.Y.), have been named the ECC's Preseason Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year.
NYIT, who was ECC runner-up and earned a NCAA Championship appearance in 2016, received all nine first place votes to top the poll with 81 points. The Bears also begin the season ranked No. 5 in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Division II poll after posting a 13-5 record last year. The Bears return six starters from last year's squad, four of which were named to the ECC All-Conference team.
Two of the returning All-Conference selections for the Bears are Hughes and Seltzer. Hughes, a three-time All-Conference selection, was an All-Conference First Team pick as a midfielder for the second straight year after scoring 35 goals and dishing off 20 assists for 55 points. His goal and point totals ranked ninth in the ECC, while his assist total was good for fifth. Hughes' outstanding season also earned him a spot on the USILA All-America Third Team.
Seltzer was tough to beat in front of the cage for the Bears in 2016, earning the conference's Goalkeeper of the Year honor and a spot on the USILA All-America Second Team for the second time in three seasons. He earned his third straight All-Conference selection as well after finishing with a 13-5 record to go along with 196 saves, a .587 save percentage, and a 7.83 goals against average. His saves total led the conference while his save percentage and goals against average ranked second. Those totals were also among the national leaders, as he ranked fourth in Division II in save percentage and sixth in goals against average. In addition, Seltzer starts the 2017 campaign as Inside Lacrosse Magazine's Preseason Division II Goalkeeper of the Year
LIU Post, who won their third straight ECC Championship in 2016 and are ranked No. 7 in the USILA Preseason Poll, come in second in the poll with 71 points. Mercy, fresh off their second straight ECC Championship appearance, is third with 62 points. Chestnut Hill rounds out the expected playoff participants, coming in at No. 4 with 51 points.
2017 ECC Men's Lacrosse Preseason Poll
|School||Pts.||Last year's Record|
|1. NYIT (9)||81||13-5 (7-1 ECC)|
|2. LIU Post||71||12-4 (7-1 ECC)|
|3. Mercy||62||9-6 (5-3 ECC)|
|4. Chestnut Hill||51||6-7 (4-4 ECC)|
|5. Molloy||49||10-5 (4-4 ECC)|
|6. Roberts Wesleyan||27||3-13 (1-7 ECC)|
|7. Dist. Columbia||24||4-8 (1-7 ECC)|
|8. Dominican||22||3-12 (1-7 ECC)|
|9. St. Thomas Aquinas||18||0-12 *|
( ) - first place votes
* - first season in ECC after playing as independent in 2016
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Tom Hughes, Sr., M, NYIT
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Alex Seltzer, Sr., GK, NYIT