FOREST, Va. – The Old Dominion Athletic Conference released its 2012 Preseason Men's Lacrosse Coaches Poll on Wednesday afternoon and Washington and Lee was selected to finish fourth among the eight lacrosse playing schools in the league.
Lynchburg College topped the poll with 46 points and four first-place votes, just one point ahead of Roanoke College, which totaled 45 points and four first-place nods. Hampden-Sydney was third with 35 points, followed by the Generals with 33 points. Randolph-Macon (24), Virginia Wesleyan (21), Guilford (12) and Randolph (8) rounded out the poll.
W&L returns 28 letterwinners from the 2011 team that posted a 9-8 overall record and earned the No. 2 seed for the ODAC Tournament with a 5-2 mark in conference play. The Generals advanced to the ODAC Semifinals before falling to Lynchburg, 9-7.
On offense, W&L returns eight of its Top 10 scorers and nearly 70 percent of its total points from a year ago led by junior attackmen Jack Switala (Lloyd Harbor, N.Y./Cold Spring Harbor) and Mac Means (Sewickley, Pa./Sewickley Academy). Switala played in all 17 games with 16 starts, totaling 22 goals and 10 assists. Means saw action in every game with 14 starts and posted 23 goals and six assists.
Defensively, the Generals led the ODAC with a 7.06 goals-against average a season ago and they return three starters at close defense, led by junior Joe LaSala (Wilton, Conn./Wilton), who earned First Team All-ODAC and Honorable Mention All-America honors despite missing the final six games of the season due to a knee injury. Seniors Jason Harden (Summit, N.J./Delbarton) and Jack Hurley (Morristown, N.J./Delbarton) also return after starting a number of games at the position last spring.
LaSala started each of the first 11 games, totaling 37 caused turnovers and 22 groundballs. Harden played in 16 games with 11 starts and recorded 18 groundballs and 10 caused turnovers. Hurley saw action in 15 contests with eight starts and logged 19 groundballs and six caused turnovers.
Washington and Lee will begin its quest for a 10th ODAC title when it opens the 2012 season on Tue., Feb. 14 with a home contest against Ferrum. Opening faceoff begins at 5:00 pm.