FREELAND, Mich. – In a preseason poll of the eight Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association men's lacrosse coaches, Albion earned the preseason nod as the favorite to defend their MIAA title this spring.
Albion garnered six of a possible seven first-place votes (coaches cannot vote for their own programs) for eight points. Alma and Hope, two teams that advance to the MIAA Tournament in 2017, tied for second place with 16 points, including one first-place vote apiece. Trine ranked fourth overall with 25 points, while Olivet emerged from a three-team log jam with 37 points for fifth place. Calvin followed with 38 points for sixth place overall, Adrian seventh with 39 points, and Kalamazoo rounded out the poll with 45 points.
Albion (15-4 overall in 2017, 7-0 in MIAA) captured their third consecutive MIAA regular season and tournament titles in 2017 after posting an unblemished conference mark during the regular season. The Britons advanced to the NCAA Championship first round before having their campaign end in a First Round loss to John Carroll. Among Albion's top returnees are First-Team All-MIAA selections Brandon Lebioda (Sr., Romeo, Mich.), Matt Lowes (Sr., Scotts, Mich.), and Kyle DeCamp (Sr., Howell, Mich.).
Alma (12-6, 5-2) pressed Albion in the 2017 MIAA Tournament title contest before falling, 11-8. First-Team All-MIAA selection Jared Nycz (Jr., Elma, N.Y.) returns for the Scots, as does Second-Team All-MIAA selection and 2017 MIAA Rookie of the Year Chase Hunyadi (Pepper Pike, Ohio).
Hope (10-6, 5-2) made its first return to the MIAA tournament after appearing in the inaugural conference tournament in 2013, falling in a close contest to Alma in the semifinals, 11-10. Returning for the Flying Dutchmen are four sophomores that earned Second-Team All-MIAA selections last spring, including Rocco Mularoni (So., Hartland, Mich.)
Trine (7-6, 3-4) just missed the MIAA postseason last year after starting the conference slate 3-1; the Thunder then lost their final three games by a total of six goals. Alex Jamieson (Jr., Hartland, Wis.) is back for the Thunder after a Second-Team All-MIAA season in 2017.
The 2018 season gets underway Saturday, Feb. 10, when Calvin takes on Carthage on the road. MIAA play begins Wednesday, April 4, when Hope entertains Alma. The 2018 MIAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament is set for Thursday and Saturday, May 3 and 5, with highest seeds hosting.