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Lenoir-Rhyne Men's Lacrosse won the 2023 NCAA Division 2 National Championship
Lenoir-Rhyne Men's Lacrosse won the 2023 NCAA Division 2 National Championship.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Defending National Champion LR Men’s Lacrosse Picked to Repeat as SAC Champions

The Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Lacrosse Team has been predicted to finish first in the SAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll as announced by the league this morning. The Bears, who are the defending National Champions, also had nine players named to the Preseason All-Conference squad.

On the Preseason All-Conference First Team, LR has three players represented. Will Canata earned a spot at midfield after finishing last season with 30 goals and 15 assists along with 13 ground balls. Joining Canata on the first team are SSDM Colten McCracken and D Victor Powell. McCracken ha four goals and five assists with 35 ground balls to help LR be one of the top defensive teams in the nation. Despite missing time with injury, Powell continued to be one of the best defensemen in the nation. He finished the 2023 campaign with a team-high 29 caused turnovers despite missing six games and added 31 ground balls while earning All-American status.

The second team consists of four players from LR. Tommy Aguilar earned the nod at midfield and finished the season with 18 goals and 11 assists while adding four man up goals. Nate Ashley finished second on the team with 28 caused turnovers and added 20 ground balls while scoring a pair of goals to end up on the second team defense and John Paulus was named second team faceoff specialist after winning 59.4 percent of faceoffs a year ago and leading the team with 85 ground balls. Rob Pensabene used a great end-of-season stretch to earn a spot on the second team. The goalie came one save shy of breaking the NCAA DII record for most saves in a single NCAA Tournament and broke a program record with 22 saves in an overtime win over Limestone.

The third team consists of Evan Voss and Joey Masson. Voss erupted after the regular season and was eventually named the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. In the tournament, Voss had 20 points in four games including two goals and five assists as LR knocked off top seeded Rollins. Masson is another one of the Bears outstanding defenders, finishing with 15 CTs and 40 ground balls.

The Bears open the 2024 campaign on February 3 when they host Barton at 1 p.m.

2024 Men’s Lacrosse Preseason Poll
Rank School (First Place Votes) Score
1 Lenoir-Rhyne (7) 77
2 Limestone (1) 71
3 Wingate (2) 70
4 Newberry 57
5 Anderson 50
6 Lincoln Memorial 37
7 Catawba 36
8 Tusculum 18
T-9 Coker 17
T-9 Mars Hill 17

All-SAC First Team
A – Willie Grieco, Wingate
A – Danny Riley, Wingate
A – Zachary Terry, Limestone

MF – Mike McGarry, Limestone
MF – Will Canata, Lenoir-Rhyne
MF – Baker Westmoreland, Newberry

D – Peyton Farley, Wingate
D – Victor Powell, Lenoir-Rhyne
D – Peyton Jefferson, Anderson

LP – Joe Karnich, Wingate

Short-Stick Defensive MF – Colten McCracken, Lenoir-Rhyne

Face-off Spec. – Tim Ladner, Limestone

GK – Hunter Klosterman, Anderson

All-SAC Second Team
A – Radyn Badraun, Anderson
A – Scott Reed, Newberry
A – Carter Brand, Limestone

MF – Chris Erneston, Limestone
MF – Tommy Aguilar, Lenoir-Rhyne
MF – Curtis Bukta, Newberry

D – Jack Travassos, Newberry
D – Nick Arnold, Wingate
D – Nate Ashley, Lenoir-Rhyne

LP – Jack Beachley, Limestone

Short-Stick Defensive MF – Trent Connolly, Wingate

Face-off Spec. – John Paulus, Lenoir-Rhyne

GK – Rob Pensabene, Lenoir-Rhyne

All-SAC Third Team
A – Evan Voss, Lenoir-Rhyne
A – Scott Reed, Newberry
A – James Osorio, Newberry

MF – Garrett Hawkins, Anderson
MF – Austin Lamoureux, Limestone
MF – Joey Moran, Wingate

D – Michael Jensen, Coker
D – David Squires, Newberry
D – Joey Masson, Lenoir-Rhyne

LP – Michael Rogers, Lincoln Memorial

Short-Stick Defensive MF – Jason Madden, Limestone

Face-off Spec. – Colby Rogers, Newberry

GK – Ryan Erler, Newberry