PERRY, N.Y. – The Washington and Lee men's lacrosse team appears at No. 20 in the USILA/Nike Preseason Division III Coaches Poll which was released on Tuesday morning.
Defending National Champion Salisbury tops the poll, with Wesleyan, RIT, Denison and York rounding out the Top 5. The Generals' 2018 schedule features six of the Top 20 teams, including ODAC members Lynchburg (12) and Roanoke (18). Others on the W&L schedule include Denison and York, along with No. 14 Gettysburg and No. 15 Franklin & Marshall.
Washington and Lee finished its 2017 season with a 10-7 overall record and the Generals earned the top seed for the ODAC Tournament with an 8-1 mark in league play. W&L featured a potent offense that ranked 12th in Division III a season ago with an average of 15.59 goals per game.
The Generals return seven starters led by junior All-America attackman A.J. Witherell (Wilmington, Del. / Salesianum). Witherell set a new W&L season scoring record during the 2017 season with 88 points on 52 goals and 36 assists. Through just two seasons, he already ranks in a tie for 24th on the school's career scoring list with 143 points.
On offense, senior attackman Sam Dardani (Waccabuc, N.Y. / Westminster) is also back after earning Third Team All-ODAC honors last year. He finished third on the team in scoring with 54 points on 37 goals and 17 assists, and he enters his final season with 123 career points.
On defense, all three starters return on close defense 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.