(INDIANAPOLIS) – The 2019 Men's Lacrosse Preseason Coaches Poll Results presented by Under Armour were released today and Lake Erie has been selected to finish third in the G-MAC. The Storm received 26 points in the voting process and were bested only by defending conference champion Seton Hill (36 points, six first-place votes) and Mercyhurst (31 points, 1 first-place vote).
In addition do that, the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) has released its preseason poll and has Lake Erie at No. 19 nationally to start the season.
From there the rest of the conference is relatively packed together. Wheeling Jesuit was picked fourth with 19 points, just edging out Walsh who rounded out the top five with 17 points. Mountain State institutions Alderson Broaddus (11 points) and Davis & Elkins (7 points) complete the poll.
Last season the Storm went 11-3 and finished the year ranked No. 9 nationally. One of those losses was in the season opener at eventual national champion Merrimack. Afterwards the Storm went on a tear and won 11 of the next 12 games until getting upset in the G-MAC Tournament semifinals.
There will be somewhat of a new look to the Storm this season as Sam Ashton returns to Lake Erie as the head coach. He previously worked with the Green and White as the offensive coordinator during the team's most successful season in 2015 when the Storm obtained a No. 1 national ranking and made it to the NCAA Final Four. He spent the last two seasons as the head coach of the University of Dallas.
The Storm will have to replace a good chunk of the squad with 11 seniors last season, two of which were All-Americans in Lucas Shafer and Reed Hnidy, but there is plenty of talent waiting in the wings and ready to reload.
Looking to keep the high-octane offense churning are Tim Bay, Patrick Bay, John Kezerian, and Micah Daigle. The quartet all reached double-figures in points last year with Tim Bay leading the group with 30 points on 18 goals and 12 assists. Defensively Bret Swan helped generate some offense with his team-best 74 ground balls. He also served as the team's specialist and was 156-of-251 on face-offs for a winning percentage of 62.2, the 13th-best mark in the nation.
Lake Erie will start the season on Friday, Feb. 22, when it hosts Rockhurst at 1 p.m. The Storm will then host defending national champion and USILA No. 1 Merrimack the following week on Sunday, March 3, at noon.