The Hobart College lacrosse team was picked to win the Northeast Conference East Division in a preseason vote of the league’s coaches. The Statesmen were the unanimous choice, while Robert Morris got the most votes to win the West.
Bryant was picked to finish second in the East followed by Sacred Heart. The Merrimack and Wagner tied for fourth place. RMU got six first place votes in the West, Saint Joseph’s received three first place votes and is picked to finish second. Mount St. Mary’s got the other first place vote and landed third in the West. New Jersey Institute of Technology and Long Island University rounded out the poll.
Hobart was also picked to win the NEC East by Inside Lacrosse. IL’s preseason All-NEC team included senior attackman Eric Holden, senior midfielder Justin Scott and sophomore defenseman Michael Christiansen.
“I hope we’ve taught our men well enough to understand preseason polls are meaningless,” says Head Coach Greg Raymond, who is preparing for his seventh season at Hobart. “It may sound redundant and unoriginal, but we will focus on today and then attack tomorrow when it comes.”
With the addition of three new members for men’s lacrosse, the NEC will have two divisions for the first time this year. LIU, Merrimack, and NJIT give the league 10 teams in men’s lacrosse. Teams will play the other four teams in their division as well as three of the five from the other division.
Hobart is coming off an 11-5 season in 2019. The Statesmen went 4-2 in the NEC, finishing tied for second in the regular season standings. Hobart reached the NEC Tournament Championship game for the fourth time in six seasons in the league with a 14-13 semifinal win over Sacred Heart. The Statesmen fell to the Colonials 11-10 in the title game.
Hobart returns 36 letter winners, including eight starters from last season’s team. Holden tied the program’s Division I era record for goals in a season with a team-leading 45 and shattered the mark for points in a DI season with 67. Scott enters his final collegiate season 13 goals away from 100 for his career. Since 1995, only two Statesmen have scored 100 career goals, Alex Love ’15 and current Denver Outlaw Chris Aslanian ’19.
Hobart scored 223 goals last season, the most in the program’s Division I era and the most by any Statesmen team since 1990 (290). The 2019 team had seven players produce 25 or more points. With six of the seven returning, Hobart’s fire-power and depth prompted USLacrosse Magazine to include Hobart in its 5 Bold Predictions for 2020. The magazine’s staff speculated that the Statesmen have the potential to lead the nation in scoring.
Hobart begins its 118th varsity season Feb. 8, when the Statesmen host Canisius.