MACON, Ga. – The results are in and the Jacksonville University men’s lacrosse team will enter the 2014 season as the preseason favorites in the newly-formed Atlantic Sun conference. The Dolphins landed six players on the 13-team Preseason All-Atlantic Sun Team – including Preseason Defender of the Year Pete DeLuca – and took five of the six first-place votes to finish well ahead of High Point and Mercer in the Preseason Coaches Poll.
The MAAC Defensive Player of the Year last season as a junior, DeLuca comes in with high expectations and looks to help the Dolphins into the NCAA Tournament from his spot in the cage. In 12 games in 2013, DeLuca recorded 138 saves and compiled a 9.28 goals-against average, helping JU to eight wins and a share of the regular season MAAC title. He owns the top seven single-game records for saves and needs 26 more to reach 500 for his career.
Joining DeLuca on the All-Atlantic Sun Team is defender Austin Curtis, long-stick middie Tyler Black, midfielders David Goldman and Conor Igoe, and attacker Ari Waffle. Curtis put together a fantastic sophomore season, earning first-team All-MAAC honors after a season in which he picked up 33 ground balls and caused 14 turnovers. He added two goals and three assists in limited offensive duties. Another big cog in Jacksonville’s defense is Black, who led the Dolphins with 29 caused turnovers in 2013. Twice last season, Black was named the MAAC Defensive Player of the Week and he was later a MAAC All-Tournament Team selection.
On the offensive side, Waffle returns for his junior season after leading Jacksonville in points last season. He scored 18 goals and added 12 assists to earn a spot on the second-team All-MAAC. He’ll be joined on the attack by Goldman, one of only four unanimous selections to the preseason team. In his junior year, Goldman scored a goal in the first seven games of the season and ended 2013 with 14 goals and 10 assists. Igoe also enters his senior campaign, coming off a year in which he had 13 goals and five assists.
Jacksonville gets its season underway on Feb. 8, traveling to take on the defending national champions, Duke.
A full listing of the preseason voting results can be found below:
Preseason Co-Offensive Players of the Year: Dan Lomas (High Point) and Chris Baxa (Mercer)
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Pete DeLuca (Jacksonville)
Fan-Voted Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Dan Lomas (High Point)
Fan Voted Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Tyler Prasnicki (VMI)
Preseason All-Atlantic Sun Team
|*GK|| Pete DeLuca
||Jacksonville||Sr.|| Millersville, Pa.
|*D|| Ralph D'Agostino
||Furman||So.|| Tewksbury, N.J.
|D|| Garrett Swaim
|| High Point
||Sr.|| Salisbury, Conn.
|D|| Austin Curtis
||Jacksonville||Jr.|| Marcy, N.Y.
|*MF||Mitchell Dupere|| High Point
||Sr.|| Raleigh, N.C.
|*MF|| David Goldman
||Jacksonville||Sr.|| Baltimore, Md.
|MF|| Conor Igoe
||Jacksonville||Sr.|| Columbus, Ohio
|MF|| Cole Branch
||Mercer||Sr.|| Marietta, Ga.
|A|| Dan Lomas
|| High Point
||So.|| Burlington, Ont.
|A|| Ari Waffle
||Jacksonville||Jr.|| Manlius, N.Y.
|| Social Sciences
|*A|| Chris Baxa
||Mercer||So.|| Owings, Md.
|*LS|| Tyler Black
||Jacksonville||Sr.|| Jupiter, Fla.
|SS/FO|| Justin Evans
||Mercer||Jr.|| Acworth, Ga.
|| Biomedical Engineering
||Team (1st Place Votes)
|1.|| Jacksonville (5)
|2.|| High Point
|3.|| Mercer (1)