Header Background
March 11, 2004

Little East Conference preseason lacrosse polls announced

Panthers picked first in women's poll

GORHAM, Maine -- Two-time defending regular-season and conference tournament champion Plymouth State University collected five first place votes and 47 total points to finish first in the annual pre-season poll of the Little East Conference's seven women's lacrosse head coaches.

Plymouth State edged Eastern Connecticut State University, which has finished second in the final regular season standings and bowed to Plymouth State in the championship game of the conference tournament in each of the past two years. In addition, the two teams have split the last two ECAC Tournament titles, with Eastern Connecticut claiming the crown in 2002 and Plymouth State responding in 2003. Plymouth State was a perfect 5-0 in league play a year ago, and compiled an overall record of 14-3. Eastern Connecticut, which received 41 points and the two remaining first place votes, was 5-1 in the conference and 10-6 overall.

Finishing third in the poll was Keene State College, which received 35 points and narrowly edged fourth-place Western Connecticut State University, which collected 31 points. Keene State was tied for fourth in the final regular season conference standings with a 2-4 ledger. The Owls advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament and received a bid to the ECAC Tournament, before finishing the year with an overall record of 9-8. Western Connecticut registered a 4-2 conference mark to finish third in the regular season, and advanced to the semifinals of the league tournament before bowing to Eastern Connecticut, 16-15 in overtime. The Colonials finished the year at 7-10.

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth finished fifth in the pre-season poll with 19 points, while the University of Southern Maine followed in sixth place with 15 points, and Rhode Island College collected eight points to finish seventh. Southern Maine earned a share of fourth place with a 2-4 mark in league play and an overall record of 4-11 last year, while UMass Dartmouth finished sixth at 2-3 and 5-9, and Rhode Island College was seventh at 0-6 and 3-10.

Each of the league's seven members will play a six-game, regular-season conference schedule, with the top six teams advancing to the conference tournament. Opening round games will be played on April 27, while the semifinals will be held on April 30 and the championship game is scheduled for May 1.

2004 Little East Conference Women's Lacrosse Preseason Poll

1) Plymouth State 47 (5)

2) Eastern Connecticut 41 (2)

3) Keene State 35

4) Western Connecticut 31

5) UMass. Dartmouth 19

6) Southern Maine 15

7) Rhode Island College 8

(first-place votes in parentheses)

(Courtesy of the Little East Conference)

-- 30 --

Panthers picked fifth in men's poll

GORHAM, Maine -- Three-time defending Little East Conference Tournament champion Eastern Connecticut State University collected all seven first-place votes and 49 total points to earn top honors in the annual pre-season poll of the league's seven men's lacrosse head coaches.

Since the LEC began sponsoring men's lacrosse with the onset of the 2001 campaign, Eastern Connecticut has swept the regular-season title and conference tournament in each of the past three years. The Warriors are unbeaten in regular-season play, compiling a three-year mark of 17-0, including a 5-0 ledger last year. Eastern Connecticut advanced to the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, where it suffered an 11-10 loss at Hamilton in overtime, and finished the year at 11-4.

Keene State College (5-1; 12-5) received 42 to points to place second in the poll, comfortably ahead of third place UMass Dartmouth (4-2; 8-6), which collected 33 points. After finishing second in the regular season a year ago, Keene State eliminated UMass Dartmouth in the semifinals of the league tournament, before bowing to Eastern Connecticut in the finals. The Owls earned a bid to the ECAC Tournament, where they advanced to the semifinals.

Finishing fourth in the coaches' poll was UMass Boston (3-3; 7-9), which earned 26 points, while Plymouth State University (2-4; 5-10) was right behind with 24 points. UMass Boston finished fourth in the regular season a year ago, and posted a narrow, 14-12, opening round win over fifth place Plymouth State.

Rounding out the poll was the University of Southern Maine (1-4; 3-9) in sixth place with 15 points and Western Connecticut in seventh place with eight points. The 2004 season will mark the Colonials' debut at the varsity level.

Each of the league's seven members will play a six-game, regular-season conference schedule, with the top six teams advancing to the conference tournament. Opening round games will be played on April 27, while the semifinals will be held on April 29, and the championship game is set for May 1.

2004 Little East Conference Men's Lacrosse Preseason Poll

1) Eastern Connecticut 49 (7)

2) Keene State 42

3) UMass Dartmouth 33

4) UMass Boston 26

5) Plymouth State 23

6) Southern Maine 15

7) Western Connecticut 8

(first place votes in parentheses)

(Courtesy of the Little East Conference)

-- 30 --