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ACC Lacrosse: Preseason Coaches' Poll and All-Conference List

The ACC Preseason Coaches' All-Conference list and Coaches' Poll was released today. Syracuse lands tied for second on the Coaches' Poll and placed two players on the All-Conference list.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Well, we don't have the full schedule yet, but we do have the ACC Coaches' Preseason Poll and the Coaches' Preseason All-Conference list. Also, at the bottom I have included a screen shot of the players who have either transferred or graduated from each ACC Team.

ACC Coaches' Poll:

1. Notre Dame

T-2. Syracuse

T-2. North Carolina

4. Duke

5. Virginia

ACC Coaches' Preseason All-Conference List:

Matt Kavanagh - attack - Notre Dame

Kevin Rice - attack - Syracuse

Joey Sankey - attack - UNC

Deemer Class - midfield - Duke

Myles Jones - midfield - Duke

Chad Tutton - midfield - UNC

Will Haus - short stick defensive midfield - Duke

Ryan Kilpatrick - LSM - UNC

Brandon Mullins - defense - Syracuse

Austin Pifani - defense - UNC

Tanner Scales - defense - Virginia

Kieran Burke - goal - UNC

Below is a comparison between the 2014 and 2015 preseason coaches' poll and the IL rankings:

2015 ACC Preseason Coaches' Poll

2015 IL Preseason Ranking

#1 UND

#2 UND

#2 Syracuse (tied)

#3 Duke

#2 UNC (tied)

#4 Syracuse

#4 Duke

#6 UNC

#5 UVA

#10 UVA

2014 Preaseason Coaches' Poll

2014 IL Preseason Ranking

2014 Final National Ranking

#1 Syracuse

#1 Duke

#1 Duke

#2 Duke (tied)

#2 Syracuse

#2 UND

#2 UNC (tied)

#3 UNC

#4 Maryland

#4 UVA

#4 UND

#8 Syracuse

#5 UND

#6 Maryland

#10 UNC

#6 Maryland

#9 UVA

#11 UVA

First up, why is Duke fourth? The Duke Blue Devils had the second-best scoring offense in the country last year but have lost Jordan Wolf and Josh Dionne on attack. Wolf and Dionne finished 2014 ranked second and ninth nationally in goals per game respectively. At midfield Duke lost FOGO Brendan Fowler and starter Christian Walsh. Fowler was a dominant FOGO, ranking thirteenth nationally in win percentage. On defense, they lost all three of their starters plus Luke Duprey. The Blue Devils lost the most starters to graduation of any other ACC team.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish return standout attackman Matt Kavanaugh, a major threat from the wing. Slouch off of Kavanaugh and he will make you pay. The Irish also lose five defenseman to graduation, including two starters. In goal, Notre Dame returns Conor Kelly and Shane Doss. Kelly began the season as the starter but struggled significantly and after giving up 4 goals in the first six minutes against UNC was replaced by Doss who got the next seven starts before Kelly regained his position as the starter. Notre Dame also lost stud FOGO Liam O'Connor but Nick Ossello should fill in nicely. Until Duke can prove it hasn't lost a step on offense, Notre Dame should remain ahead of the pack.

Honestly, I'm a bit skeptical about the Syracuse Orange tied at number two. Yes, the attack is completely stable bringing back all three starters. I also think that going to a one goalie system will help Syracuse, although we could very well find ourselves in another goalie controversy with Warren Hill entering into the mix so let's wait and see how that plays itself out. The defense only loses Matt Harris and will return Brandon Mullins, an excellent close defender, even still, I'm not very high on the defensive side of things. I assume Sean Young will once again start, and then after that we'll have to see who steps up. In 2014, Ryan Palasek and Jay McDermott each got one start on defense while Bobby Tait received three starts. This team is going to have to do a lot better possessing the ball then it did last year. The Orange have to eat away at the clock and that could be a problem considering the face-off situation. It can't be said yet that Syracuse has improved at the face-off circle, in fact, I think the Orange may have declined at the position. I think Syracuse is much better placed at the number three or four slot.

Now on to the North Carolina Tar Heels. UNC lost ten midfielders, nine to graduation and Spencer Parks who transferred to the Towson Tigers. The team does, however, return midfield starters Steve Pontrello, Shane Simpson, and Chad Tutton. As for the face-off position, UNC will only have one of the three main FOGOs they used in 2014, Stephen Kelly. The Tar Heels lose Pat Foster at the attack position but return Joey Sankey and Jimmy Bitter. Fans might remember Sankey was the player who stood behind the net with the ball for over two minutes in a game against the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays, giving the pro-shot clock lobby a big boost. Sankey finished 2014 leading UNC in goals with 33. Bitter followed him up with 30 goals on the season. The defense will also remain intact, including Kieran Burke who has proven to be one of the better goalies in the country.

The Virginia Cavaliers land fourth in the Coaches' Poll. The Cavalier midfield got completely decimated due to graduation and they also lost starting attackman Mark Cockerton, seventh nationally in goals per game and thirteenth nationally in points per game in 2014. Returning however is James Pannell, who burned Syracuse for seven goals, and Owen Van Arsdale. Virginia still has problems at the goalie position. The 2014 starter, Matt Barrett, returns but had significant issues last year. Another big problem on the defensive end is the loss of starters Scott McWilliams and Greg Danseglio. Danseglio, who started 27 straight games for the Cavaliers and would be a senior this year, is reportedly not enrolled at UVA this year. This leaves Tanner Scales as the only close defenseman with experience on the UVA roster. There are a few long stick midfielders on the roster that could fill in but this is not good news for goalie Barrett.

The ACC is the toughest lacrosse conference in division I, even without the Maryland Terrapins. It will still be a struggle to get all five teams into the NCAA Tournament, so don't take the ACC rankings lightly. Last year the two teams that did not make the ACC Tournament got to play a showcase game against each other, further helping their resumes. This year there will still be a showcase game for that fifth team but it is still unclear who that opponent will be and how a win will affect that fifth team's strength of schedule. Therefore, getting into the ACCT will be more important this year.


Below is a chart of ACC players who either graduated or transferred. Italics are players that transferred. Bold are players that started in the 2014 season. Underlined are players that took significant amount of face-offs in 2014.

Team Player Losses