FOREST, Va. – The Old Dominion Athletic Conference released its 2018 men's lacrosse preseason coaches poll on Friday morning and Washington and Lee was picked to finish third out of the league's 10 lacrosse playing schools.
Defending champion Hampden-Sydney tops the poll with seven first-place votes and 77 points. Lynchburg is second with 72 points and two first-place votes, while the Generals racked up 64 points and one first-place vote to place third. Roanoke was fourth with 63 points and was followed by Randolph-Macon (47), Guilford (37), Bridgewater (31), Shenandoah (30), Virginia Wesleyan (19) and Randolph (10).
W&L earned the top seed for the ODAC Tournament last season, finishing with a 10-7 overall record and an 8-1 league mark. The Generals return seven starters from a year ago, including two of the top three scorers and all three close defensemen.
Headlining the returnees is 2017 ODAC Player of the Year A.J. Witherell (Wilmington, Del. / Salesianum). A junior attackman, Witherell also garnered Second Team All-America laurels after setting a new W&L season scoring record with 88 points on 52 goals and 36 assists. He is joined as a returning starter on the attack unit by senior Sam Dardani (Waccabuc, N.Y. / Westminster). Dardani earned Third Team All-ODAC laurels after posting 54 points on 37 goals and 17 assists.
The defense is led by senior Kyle Gifford (Darien, Conn. / Darien), who is a two-time All-ODAC honoree. Last season, he earned First Team All-ODAC laurels after recording 24 ground balls and 14 caused turnovers. He is joined in the back third by juniors John Broderick (Manhasset, N.Y. / Chaminade) and Paul Callahan (San Rafael, Calif. / Marin Catholic), who are also returning starters. Broderick was a Third Team All-ODAC selection in 2017 after totaling 29 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers. Callahan posted 15 ground balls and 14 caused turnovers.
Another key returnee is sophomore midfielder Jack Hodgson (Richmond, Va. / St. Christopher's), who earned First Team All-ODAC laurels for his work at the Faceoff X. Hodgson won 225-of-345 faceoffs to rank 20th nationally (.652). He also finished second in the conference in ground balls (121) and chipped in two goals and two assists as well.
Washington and Lee will begin the season on February 10 when it hosts No. 5 York for a 1:00 pm contest.