Preseason MCLA Rankings: Division 1

Borrowed from @CSUMensLax Twitter

Lacrosse Magazine recently released their 2013 Preseason Top 20. We checked out the Divison 2 rankings a little earlier this morning, and now we’re going to take a look at how the Division 1 rankings stack up.

Colorado State came in at number one, which is no surprise really. They return their three top scorers from 2012, as well as both standout goalies from last year. The Rams should easily make another run at the MCLA D1 National Championship this season.

Borrowed from @CSUMensLax Twitter

Rounding out the top 5 were Arizona State, runner-up Cal Poly, Chapman, and Brigham Young. I think this will be a great year of growth in Division 1 and will prove to be extremely competitive between the top 8-10 teams (fingers crossed). There were several of the top squads that return a lot of their core talent from 2012 and should be able to help unseat the Rams from their Championship.

Preseason Player of the Year went to Tyler Novotny from Pittsburgh. After transferring from St. John’s (D1) in 2011, Novotny has made a HUGE impact for the Panthers, amassing 130 points in his two seasons on 103 goals and 27 assists. Last year, he also helped lead Pitt to a trip to Nationals and put up four goals in a 13-9 loss to UCSB (who would go on to lose to Champion CSU 6-3).

Borrowed from

Now it’s your turn MCLA Fan’ers! Did Lacrosse Magazine get the rankings right? Who would you have picked to be atop the preseason polls? Tell us below in the comments.

For more information, check out the D1 part of the Press Release below.

For Immediate Release

Colorado State, St. Thomas Top Lacrosse Magazine’s MCLA Preseason Rankings
Pitt’s Tyler Novotny, Westminster’s Jake Arthur named preseason players of the year

BALTIMORE, Dec. 18, 2012 — Colorado State and St. Thomas earned the No. 1 positions in Lacrosse Magazine’s preseason rankings for the 2013 Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) Divisions I and II, respectively, released today. Lacrosse Magazine also named Pitt attackman Tyler Novotny and Westminster midfielder Jake Arthur as its preseason players of the year for Divisions I and II, respectively.

The Rams will enter the 17th season of MCLA play coming off a record fifth Division I championship last spring, having defeated Cal Poly, 7-5, in the title game in Greenville, S.C. Attackman Austin Fisher, who led Colorado State with 56 goals assists last year, is one of several returnees.

Pitt reached the MCLA tournament for the first time last season thanks in large part to Novotny. A transfer from the varsity program at St. John’s (N.Y.), he scored 67 goals and dished out 17 assists for the 12-3 Panthers.

Lacrosse Magazine’s complete rankings as follows:

MCLA Division I Preseason Top 20
1. Colorado State
2. Arizona State
3. Cal Poly
4. Chapman
5. Brigham Young
6. Michigan State
7. Colorado
8. UC Santa Barbara
9. Virginia Tech
10. Oregon
11. Buffalo
12. Pittsburgh
13. California
14. Florida State
15. Sonoma State
16. Boston College
17. Davenport
18. Northeastern
19. Minnesota-Duluth
20. Connecticut

Preseason Player of the Year
Tyler Novotny, Pittsburgh, Sr. A


  1. Michigan State will have a tough time this year.  They come in ranked #6 on the coat tails of the most successful season in program history. The Spartans have gone through a lot of changes in the off season. The press releases might say they were changes for the better, in reality they were lateral at best.  The coaching change is not going to be the issue.  The gentleman stepping in, without a doubt, have the experience and knowledge to do the job.  The issue lies in what the coaching change says about the “new” direction of the program.  It seems a direction away from Dwayne Hicks and what he represents; hard work, sacrifice, and a focus on the fundamentals. “The Hicks Era”, as we will call it, is the most successful time in the club program history.  Three consecutive CCLA finals appearances (1CCLA Championship ’12), three consecutive National Tournament Bids (2 At Large, 1 AQ), and numerous individual Conference/National accolades for his players and himself (2 time CCLA Coach of the year ’09 and ’11, National Coach of the Year ’11). The upward trend of “The Hicks Era” surely wasn’t the players winning in spite of their leadership. Or was it?  Logic would say no but only time will tell. Realistically it isn’t fair to compare the new coaching staff to “The Hicks Era”.  Given the same schedule and situation Coach Hicks would be hard pressed to have as much success as he did in 2012. If their schedule stays the same MSU will end the regular season 6-4, lose in the CCLA play offs and miss out on a trip back to Greenville.
    Regular Season 

    Central Michigan – Win 1-0   The Spartans are still a very talented team.  They will out talent the Chippewa’s in a lopsided victory.

    D2 #2 Grand Valley – Loss 1-1  Though they are a D2 team, Grand Valley is a monster.  MSU will be the first of many teams in the Lake show’s destructive wake this season.

    #1 CSU – Loss1-2  The phrase “Hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle” comes to mind.  In this case CSU is a very talented team that is built off of hustle and discipline.  It won’t be close.

    Illinois – Win 2-2  Illinois is another team that fired a coach in the off season.  They, however, are less talented and their current coaching situation is less clear.  
    More Talent + More Organization = More Goals

    Toledo – Win 3-2  

    Simon Fraser – Loss 3-3  This contest could go either way.  One thing is for certain…the Clansmen can win any game on their schedule.  They have proven it year after year; never count them out.  The edge will go to SFU.  At this point in the season they will have already played 4 top ten teams.  They will be more battle tested and ready.  This also means they could have more injuries but Canadians are tough and SFU is used to having a short bench. Their high octane, run and gun style also works to their advantage. 

    Western Michigan – Win 4-3 Interchangeable with Central Michigan.

    #12 Pitt – Win 5-3 Though Pitt boasts the PPOY, State has never lost to the Panthers and they won’t lose this year.  In the 17-16 o/t win in 2012, the Spartan were rumored to have had upwards of 15 min in penalties to the Panthers 3 min.  This was pretty evident in their playoff rematch where MSU won in dominant fashion 14-5. This will give State their first meaningful win of 2013. 

    Ohio – Win 6-3 Even with talks of a Hopkins transfer (believe it when you see it) the Bobcats are a team with a student coach.  While talented, they lack focus.  MSU will tally another easy victory.

    #17 Davenport – Loss 6-4 This game is not on either teams schedule yet but it will be a conference matchup.  Davenport gave the Spartans an early season scare last year with a 13-12 o/t thriller. This is another game that could go either way but DU plays a very Canadian/run and gun style that will give them the edge. This year DU steps up to the MCLA D1 level and right into a top 20 ranking.  The respect is deserved and new head coach Chris Gervat only brings more credibility to the program.  Former NCAA D1 player at UMass, and MSU assistant coach under Dwayne Hicks.  

    Wether they end up 6-4, 7-3, or even 9-1(No one has them beating CSU) the only games that really matter are the CCLA playoffs.  Their 2013 schedule meets the requirements to play in the national tournament but it does not deserve an at-large bid.  #1,12, and 17, with the hopes that unranked Illinois and Simon Fraser both over achieve?  It seems like they gave themselves a soft schedule hoping that they could start with a high ranking and hold on to a top 16 spot until May.  In 2012, the Spartans had a strong schedule but did not perform in key games. If they didn’t win the CCLA title and an AQ bid they would not have earned an at-large bid. Their three regular season losses in 2012 came to ASU, Buffalo, and Boston College. With Pitt beating Buffalo and BC in their regular season a win over MSU in the CCLA Playoffs would have crushed any case the Spartans had for a 2012 at large bid.  The only scenario in which MSU gets an at large bid in 2013 is with an undefeated season.

    CCLA Playoffs 

    If the format stays the same the top four teams will play two games to decide the AQ bid to the national tournament.  MSU, Davenport, and Pitt are locks.  The fourth team is anyones guess.  No mater how it plays out MSU will most likely play Davenport and lose, taking away their only avenue back to Greenville.

    Again, only time will tell where this “new” direction will take the Michigan State Men’s Lacrosse program.  Did the kids make the right call? Did they do what was best for the program and its long term interests?  Or is this another example of club lacrosse players getting their first taste of power and letting it go to their heads? This seems to be a theme in the club world.  Every year you hear stories similar to this one.  You would think that programs flirting with legitimacy would learn from others mistakes.