PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Plymouth State College was picked to finish second in the inaugural Little East Conference men's lacrosse poll, according to a vote by the league's seven head coaches. This is the first year that the LEC has sponsored men's lacrosse as a conference sport.
Eastern Connecticut, which captured last year's Pilgrim League regular season championship and participated in the ECAC Tournament, is the unanimous preseason favorite to win the LEC. The Warriors received all seven first-place votes for a total of 70 points, while PSC got all seven second-place voted for 56 points.
Rounding out the rest of the poll is UMass Boston in third (42 points), UMass Dartmouth fourth (32), Keene State fifth (31), Salem State sixth (21) and Southern Maine seventh (14).
Led by second-year head coach Nate Ostis, the Panthers are coming off a 10-6 season in 2000. PSC finished second in the Pilgrim League and qualified for the league play-offs, losing in the semi-finals. PSC returns several key veterans, including school record setting attackmen Jim Martocchio (Simsbury, Conn.) and JP Sallese (Beverly, Mass.).
The Little East Conference for men's lacrosse includes six full-time LEC institutions plus Salem State of the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference. The two conferences combined forces because neither had the required seven or more men's lacrosse teams to secure a future NCAA automatic bid.
As a first-year conference sport, the LEC will not be eligible for an automatic berth in this year's NCAA Division III national tournament. However, the LEC champion will be eligible for a possible NCAA Pool B bid. Pool B consists of either first or second-year conferences or teams from conferences that do not have the required minimum seven teams for an automatic bid.
The top six teams will qualify for the inaugural LEC Tournament, which is scheduled for the first week in May. First round games are Tuesday, May 1st, with the semi-finals on Friday, May 3rd, and the championship game on Sunday, May 5th.