WATERVILLE, Maine – The Castleton University men's lacrosse team is expected to contend for the 2018 North Atlantic Conference title, as the Spartans landed in second place in the NAC Preseason Coaches' Poll, announced Tuesday by the league office.
Castleton received two first-place votes and 58 points overall, just four points behind preseason favorite New England College, which received the other six first-place votes and 62 total points. The Pilgrims have won four of the last six NAC Tournament titles, including the past two championships over the Spartans.
The preseason poll fell right in line with the final 2017 regular season standings, with Lyndon in third place with 44 points, followed by Husson with 37 points and Maine Maritime with 30 points. Thomas ended up in sixth place in the coaches' poll with 28 points, ahead of Green Mountain with 15 points and Johnson with 14 points.
Castleton posted an overall record of 10-9 in 2017, including a 6-1 mark within the NAC. The Spartans advanced to the NAC Tournament championship match for the 14th consecutive year before losing to New England College in the title game.
Bo McDougall enters his seventh season at the helm of the Spartan men's lacrosse program, accumulating a 72-41 (.637) overall record during his first six years as head coach.
The team will see 19 players back from last year's squad, including First Team All-NAC selections Josh Gosselin and Edward Doton. Gosselin finished the 2017 season 10th in Division III in faceoff winning percentage at 69.6 percent, while Doton caused 18 turnovers last season and picked up 30 ground balls.
The Spartans' top two goal scorers from last season are back as well. Sam Siegel led Castleton with 35 goals, plus he dished out 21 assists for 56 total points, featuring three five-goal games: at Southern Maine (March 24), at Maine Maritime (March 25), and at Norwich (April 18). Jason Sedell contributed 28 goals in 2017, highlighted by a six-goal game in the NAC Tournament semifinal against Lyndon May 3.
Castleton opens the season with four straight games away from home, including two trips to Plattsburgh, N.Y. The Spartans start the season Wednesday, Feb. 28, at Plattsburgh State starting at 4 p.m. The Cardinals are receiving votes in this week's USILA Coaches' Poll after posting a 12-6 record last season and winning the SUNYAC Tournament to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
On Sunday, March 4, the Spartans return to Plattsburgh for a neutral-site match against St. Lawrence, ranked 10th in the current USILA Coaches' Poll. The Saints went 16-3 last season and defeated Montclair State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to SUNY Cortland in the third round.
The Spartans lost to both teams last season, falling to Plattsburgh State, 20-7, and to St. Lawrence, 18-3.
Castleton opens the home schedule and the conference slate on the same day, hosting Lyndon Saturday, March 17, at 1 p.m., the first of six straight home games. The Spartans conclude the regular season at New England College Monday, April 23, at 7 p.m.