blowout win over Methodist on Satuday. Most teams won't see action for another couple weeks, so here's a closer look at the Nike/US Lacrosse Preaseason Top 20.

"> NCAA Preview: Divsion III Men's Top 20 | USA Lacrosse Magazine

PHOTO BY GREG WALL

Salisbury, which returns much of its roster (including Nathan Blondino, pictured above), takes the top spot in the Nike/US Lacrosse Division II Men's PreseasonI Top 20.

NCAA Preview: Divsion III Men's Top 20


Reigning NCAA Division III men's lacrosse champion Salisbury kicked off the 2017 season with a blowout win over Methodist on Satuday. Most teams won't see action for another couple weeks, so here's a closer look at the Nike/US Lacrosse Preaseason Top 20.

1. Salisbury

The Sea Gulls have more than a handful of returners, including Nate Blondino, Carson Kalama and Andrew Ternahan. There’s no reason Salisbury can’t contend for a second straight national title.

2. Ithaca

Ithaca led the nation in scoring last year and brings back almost all of its starting offense. The Bombers will be stacked and should be even stronger in 2017. Look for Jake Cotton and Jack Shumway to lead the way once again.

3. Tufts

Tufts lost two of the most important components of its fast-paced offense in 2016: John Uppgren and coach Mike Daly. Casey D’Annolfo takes over a roster that includes two of its top five scorers from 2016. Tufts has a lot of questions heading into this year, but remains a strong team.

4. RIT

RIT returns its top two scorers, but the loss of a couple of defenders and long-stick midfielder Matt Hossack created a void. The quicker it can be filled, the better the chances are for this team that still has potential to win it all.

5. St. Lawrence

Gone is the dependable Jeremy Vautour, but St. Lawrence still has the potential for another run. Connor Healey, who led the team in points last season, will return, as will faceoff specialist Alex Dietsch.

6. Cabrini

Matt LoParo and Jordan Krug are back from a strong and young offense last season. However, there are a few questions on defense that need to be solved for this team to maintain a Top 10 ranking.

7. York

The Spartans return a good portion of the defense that fueled a victory over Salisbury and an NCAA tournament appearance last season, but they lose goalie Caleb Abney. Garrett Barker and Joey Fiorino will be looked at to lead in 2017.

8. Bowdoin

Bowdoin just missed out on an NCAA tournament berth last season, but much of its offense is back to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Brett Kujala will look to add on to his 45 goals in 2016.

9. Denison

Denison put together a strong under-the-radar season last year, but Liam Rooney is one of the only returners on offense.

10. RPI

RPI might be a dark horse sitting at No. 10. It returns Brenaninn McNeally, Matt Hall and TJ Kelly on offense, and has experience on defense to fill the void created by graduation.










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11. Gettysburg

The Bullets lost a great deal of their strong 2016 team, including two defensive starters. It wouldn’t be surprising to see new names emerge that keep Gettysburg within striking distance of an NCAA berth.

12. Ohio Wesleyan

Another year of Max Tennant and Jack Harvery on the Ohio Wesleyan roster? Sure. The core of this team stays intact.

13. Cortland

Cortland could be a good bounce-back candidate. The Red Dragons return much of last year’s starting lineup, both on offense and defense.

14. Amherst

Yes, Amherst had a nice run into the NCAA tournament last season. However, it loses a chunk of its starting offense, most notably Quinn Moroney, who joined the coaching staff as an assistant.

15. Stevenson

The Mustangs will have to rely on new contributors on offense, with three of their top five scorers gone from last season.




PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Ohio Wesleyan's Max Tennant, who scored 58 goals as a freshman in 2016, returns with a year of experience under his belt.


16. Washington and Lee

Buck Armstrong, one of the anchors on the Washington and Lee defense in 2016, is gone. However, the rest of the defense returns.

17. Western New England

Western New England will bring another experienced offense into the 2017 season, with three of its top five scorers returning.

18. Bates

Bates lost its top scorer, Jack Allard, to graduation. However, there’s a strong group waiting to fill that void.

19. Wesleyan

Wesleyan loses only a few starters from last year’s team, which consisted of mostly underclassmen. With another year under their belt, the core of this team could be ready to shine.

20. Dickinson

The Red Devils lose their top two scorers (Chris Menard and Rob Kendall), but return much of its starting defense.