GREENWOOD, Ind. – With a bevy of returners, the Hanover men's lacrosse team has been picked by the Ohio River Lacrosse Conference head coaches to finish in the top half of the 11-team field this spring.
After having eight teams in the first three seasons of the conference, the ORLC will expand to 11 institutions this spring. Hanover garnered 68 points in the preseason poll, good enough for fifth place.
Three-time defending champion, Transylvania (Ky.), has been picked as the league favorite once again, accumulating nine first place votes and 116 total points. Saint Vincent (Pa.) notched one first place vote as well, coming in at No. 2 with 104 points. Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) and Thiel (Pa.) round out the top four with 94 and 87 points, respectively.
Grove City (Pa.) tallied the final first place vote, positioning themselves sixth with 64 points. The rest of the poll finished accordingly; Westminster (63), Chatham (48), Bethany (40), Mount St. Joseph (22) and Earlham (20).
After earning top three finishes in the ORLC's first two seasons, numerous close losses last spring kept the Panthers out of the postseason tournament. In the conference's three-year existence, head coach Skip Lichtfuss has guided the Blue and Red to an 11-9 mark in ORLC play.
Hanover has never been picked lower than No. 5 in the ORLC preseason poll and was even tabbed the preseason favorite for the inaugural 2015 conference season. Last year, HC was picked fourth before finishing sixth overall. The Panthers will hope to have similar results to the 2016 campaign, where they finished in a three-way tied for second after recording a fifth place projection in the preseason prognosis.
The Blue and Red will have the luxury of returning five all-conference selections from a season ago, including junior Sam Green (Beaumaris, Australia), who has proven to be one of the nation's top face-off competitors. Junior Joseph DeLeo (Waterford, Mich.) and sophomores Andrew Trachtman (Carmel, Ind.), Eric Clay (Wilmington, Del.) and Noah Dubrava (Centerville, Ohio) also return this spring as all-ORLC honorees.
Hanover will open the season for the third straight year against Centre (Ky.) in non-conference action. The Panthers are Colonels are slated for a 1 p.m. start, Saturday, Feb. 24, at Hanover's Alumni Stadium.
Contact: Tyler Jester