The York College men's lacrosse team is set to embark on a season of great expectations in 2017.
In fact, most are predicting that the Spartans will again contend for the Capital Athletic Conference championship and an NCAA Division III postseason berth.
The defending CAC champion Spartans, however, will have a rather large hurdle to jump in order to repeat their title.
York will have to get past defending NCAA Division III champion Salisbury.
Salisbury has been picked as the preseason favorite to capture the CAC title in a vote among the conference head coaches. The Sea Gulls received seven first-place votes and 63 points to sit atop the 2017 CAC men's lacrosse preseason poll.
The other two first-place votes went to York, which handed Salisbury its lone loss of the 2016 campaign with a 10-9 triumph in the CAC title game. The conference crown was the first for the Spartans in program history, and marked just the fifth time in the 24-year history of CAC men's lacrosse that a team other than Salisbury secured the title.
Frostburg State earned 48 points to edge out Christopher Newport (45 points) for third place in the preseason poll.
Salisbury, York, Frostburg State and Christopher Newport enter the year receiving preseason recognition. Salisbury enters the year not only as the preeminent favorite in the CAC, but nationally as well. The Sea Gulls are ranked No. 1 by both the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) and Inside Lacrosse's Face-Off Yearbook rankings. The Sea Gulls captured their 11th overall national title, 10th since joining the CAC and first since 2012 with a dramatic victory over Tufts in last year's national title game.
York, which reached the national quarterfinals last season, is ranked No. 4 by Inside Lacrosse and No. 7 by the USILA, while Frostburg State and Christopher Newport are both among 12 teams receiving votes in the USILA poll, just outside the preseason top-20. York finished 18-4 last season.
Spartan head coach Brandon Childs had to say goodbye to the most successful senior class in school history. However, he welcomes back a large core of key contributors in addition to a dynamic freshman class that should have an impact on the Spartan season.
On offense, Childs returns Hunter Davis and Brendan McGrath, a pair of sophomores who made significant contributions a year ago. In the midfield, Jo Jo Joseph, Austin Glab, Dillon Hannah and Cam Leech give Childs a strong unit. On defense, Joey Fiorino, and Garrett Barker return at close defense positions while Tyler Tolbert and Conrad Ordakowski will be short-stick defenders. Junior Landry Marshall is in line to be the starting goalie for the Spartans when they open the season on Feb. 11.