MANSFIELD, Mass. –New England College has earned the top spot in the 2020 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Men's Lacrosse Preseason Poll. The Pilgrims compiled nine total points, tallying only first place votes. New England College is the defending NECC regular season champions, as well as the defending North Atlantic Conference (NAC)/NECC Alliance Champions. 2019 NECC Coach of the Year Jedd Brown enters his eighth season at the helm, and has now won four consecutive conference titles (with three coming in the NAC). He will lead a team that will return six starters, including two first team all-NECC performers in attack Connor Smith (Oakland, Maine), and defender David Benjamin (Wilmot, N.H.). Smith led the league with 55 total goals a season ago, while Benjamin led a defense that topped the league in goals against average at 10.37.
Dean College lands in the second spot with seven points, and the remaining first place vote. Fourth-year head coach Matt Schairer will be back on the sidelines for the Bulldogs. The 2019 NECC Rookie of the Year, Louis Piccolo (Foxboro, Mass.) will also return to the field for the Bulldogs. Piccolo was in the top-five in the league in goals scored in his rookie campaign, netting 44.
Becker College and Mitchell College landed in a tie for the third spot with four points each. Becker will be led by first-year head coach Mark Wirth. The Hawks will return four starters, among them senior Jack Schneider (Morrisville, Vt.), who led Becker with 17 goals last season. The Mariners will also return one of their top goal scorers from a season ago, in Jade Shields (Hempstead, N.Y.), who netted 24 goals in 2019. Head coach Rich Petillo will also be back on the sidelines for his fifth season with Mitchell.
The NECC is entering its second year of an alliance championship with the NAC. Seven NAC members currently sponsor men's lacrosse – Northern Vermont-Johnson, Northern Vermont-Lyndon, Maine Maritime Academy, Husson University, Thomas College, SUNY Canton and SUNY Delhi.
The top two regular season finishers from each conference will face off (#1 NAC vs. #2 NECC and #1 NECC vs. #2 NAC) in semifinal games on Saturday, April 25. The winners from those two games will meet for the alliance championship on Saturday, May 2. The champion will receive the automatic qualification spot for the NCAA tournament.
2020 NECC Men's Lacrosse Preseason Coaches Poll
- New England Col. 9 (3)
2. Dean – 7 (1)
3. Becker – 4
3. Mitchell- 4
ABOUT THE NECC
The NECC began competition in the 2008-09 academic year and current member institutions compete across 15 sports. The NECC membership focuses on providing athletic competition among institutions that share similar academic aspirations and are committed to the importance of the total educational experience for students engaged in sports. Current members include Bay Path University, Becker College, Dean College, Eastern Nazarene College, Elms College, Lesley University, Mitchell College and New England College.