Saint Michael's earns national rankings, slated for fourth-place finish in NE-10

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's lacrosse team drew a ninth-place ranking in Lacrosse Magazine's preseason national poll last month before being slotted fourth in the Northeast-10 Conference in the preseason coaches' poll, which was released by the league office today and was chosen by the member institutions' head coaches. The Purple Knights received 87 points toward the NE-10 poll.

In the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association's (USILA) preseason poll, the Purple Knights earned a 12th-place assignment in the 12-team rankings.

Saint Michael's was one of four NE-10 institutions in Lacrosse Magazine's poll, following No. 3 Le Moyne College, No. 5 Merrimack College and No. 8 Adelphi University. Those same three teams are the only squads the Purple Knights trail in the conference rankings, and against whom they lost three regular-season meetings by a total of four goals a year ago. Le Moyne, a 2012 NCAA Tournament semifinalist, topped the NE-10 poll with 119 points.

The Purple and Gold went 11-5 overall and 6-4 in the league last spring, notching program records for wins and goals-against average (6.12). Saint Michael's allowed more than eight goals only once, posting the sixth-best scoring defense in the nation, and killed penalties at the third-best clip in Division II. Each of the Purple Knights' four regular-season losses came by two goals or fewer before they knocked off Saint Anselm College, 8-4, in the first round of the NE-10 Championship but lost at Le Moyne by the same score in the semifinals.

Senior Pete Donnally (Madison, N.J./Morristown-Beard School) had a team-high 43 goals last spring, placing fifth in the nation in scoring average and coming within three of the program mark. With 96 career markers, he is 13 short of the school's standard. Senior Marty Vanzo (Westford, Vt./Essex/Vermont) posted 32 goals and 15 assists last season, classmate Max Zuccarini (Medfield, Mass./Medfield) had 14 goals and 10 assists, and junior Connor Glackin (South Huntington, N.Y./Saint Anthony's) netted 14 goals.

Junior Chris Casserly (Kensington, N.H./Exeter) won 101 face-offs at a 57.1-percent success rate and nabbed 51 ground balls, senior Neil Kelly (Narragansett, R.I./Bishop Hendricken) caused 33 turnovers and scooped 40 ground balls, and junior Chris DeMairo (Bethpage, N.Y./Bethpage) set a school record in GAA (6.04) for the second straight season. DeMairo was third in the nation in GAA while posting a program-record 11 wins.

In their first season under interim head coach Pat Ivory '08, the Purple Knights embark on an ambitious season-opening Spring Break trip next month. During the three-game road swing, Saint Michael's visits 2012 NCAA Tournament semifinalist and second-ranked Mercyhurst University on March 10 before heading to No. 6 New York Institute of Technology on March 16. NE-10 play begins on March 23, as the Purple Knights host first-year league member The College of Saint Rose. The six-team NE-10 Championship begins on April 30.