FREELAND, Mich. – Coming off the 2018 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association men's lacrosse championship, the Hope men's lacrosse team is predicted to repeat that effort this spring in a preseason poll of all eight head coaches.
Hope received six of a possible seven first-place votes (coaches cannot vote for their own programs) for eight points. Albion, the 2018 MIAA Tournament champion, gathered the other two first-place votes to earn 12 points to rank second overall, while Trine was predicted to finish third with 19 points. Alma emerged with 25 points to rank fourth, while Kalamazoo tallied 32 points to rank fifth in the preseason poll. Calvin (37 points), Adrian (43 points), and Olivet (48 points) rounded out the preseason tally.
Hope (15-2 overall in 2018, 7-0 in MIAA) had a 15-game winning streak during the 2018 campaign, bookended with setbacks in ths season opener and to Albion in the MIAA Tournament final. Returning for the Flying Dutchmen are 2018 MIAA Most Valuable Player Rocco Mularoni (Jr., A, Hartland, Mich.) who tallied 75 points last season, including 34 points in MIAA action. Also back for Hope are First-Team All-MIAA selections Max Kuiper (Jr., A, Grand Rapids, Mich.), Josh Blackburn (Sr., LSM, Muskegon, Mich.), Andrew Caris (Jr., D, Hartland, Mich.), and Liam Turley (Sr., M, Middleton, Wis.).
Albion (10-8, 6-1) represented the MIAA in the NCAA Championship for the fourth consecutive season following their MIAA Tournament title in 2018. This spring, the Britons feature First-Team All-MIAA goalie Trevor McManus (Jr., G, Canton, Mich.) and All-MIAA Second Team honoree Alec Palmer (Jr., A, Spring Lake, Mich.).
Trine (10-6, 5-2) improved on their 2017 season with five MIAA wins and played in the semifinals of the 2018 MIAA Tournament. Aiding in that effort last season were First-Team All-MIAA selections Neil Orr (Sr., M, Lombard, Ill.) and Alex Jamison (Sr., D, Hartland, Wis.).
Alma (7-11, 4-3), who has participated in the last four MIAA Tournaments, will lean on 2018 First-Team All-MIAA selection Jared Nycz (Sr., M, Buffalo, N.Y.). Nycz has amassed an MIAA-record 61 assists in conference play in three seasons with the Scots.
The 2019 season officially begins Saturday, Feb. 9, when Calvin hosts Carthage. The MIAA season is slated to start Wednesday, April 3, when Alma entertains Hope. The 2019 MIAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament is set for Thursday and Saturday, May 2 and 4, with highest seeds hosting.