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Johns Hopkins unanimous pick to win Big Ten men’s lacrosse title

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Rosemont, Ill. – Johns Hopkins was selected as the unanimous preseason favorite to claim the Big Ten Championship in men’s lacrosse in a poll conducted by the conference’s six head coaches. The coaches also selected three players from their own team to a Players to Watch list. The Blue Jays were followed in the preseason poll by second-place Maryland, Ohio State in third place, fourth-place Penn State, Michigan in fifth place and sixth-place Rutgers.

Johns Hopkins made its record 43rd NCAA Tournament appearance last season and advanced to the Final Four after sharing the inaugural Big Ten Championship with Maryland and winning the first Big Ten Tournament. The Blue Jays are ranked No. 5 in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) preseason poll. Johns Hopkins’ Players to Watch are attacker Ryan Brown, defender Nick Fields and attacker Shack Stanwick. Brown was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and unanimous first-team All-Big Ten last season, while Fields was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection.

Maryland was picked to finish second after earning a share of the Big Ten Championship, garnering an at-large berth to its 38th NCAA Tournament and advancing to the national championship game last season. The Terrapins are ranked No. 4 in the USILA preseason poll. Maryland’s Players to Watch are midfielders Isaiah Davis-Allen and Colin Heacock and defender Mac Pons. Davis-Allen was also named a second-team preseason All-American by the Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Yearbook.

Ohio State reached the Big Ten Tournament championship game and made its fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament last season, advancing to the quarterfinals. The Buckeyes are ranked No. 11 in the USILA preseason poll. Ohio State’s Players to Watch are attacker Carter Brown, goalkeeper Tom Carey and defender Robby Haus. Brown was a first-team All-Big Ten selection last season, while Carey and Haus claimed honorable mention plaudits. Brown and Haus also earned Academic All-Big Ten honors last spring.

Penn State qualified for the inaugural Big Ten Tournament last season, and saw two players earn all-conference recognition. The Nittany Lions are receiving votes in the USILA preseason poll. Penn State’s Players to Watch are midfielders Matt Florence and Drake Kreinz and attacker TJ Sanders, who was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection last season. Kreinz and Sanders were also named Academic All-Big Ten.

Michigan enters its fifth season as a varsity program in 2016. The Wolverines’ Players to Watch are goalkeeper Gerald Logan, attacker Kyle Jackson and midfielder Mikie Schlosser. Logan claimed honorable mention All-Big Ten recognition last season.

Two of Rutgers’ Players to Watch collected All-Big Ten honors in 2015. Attacker Scott Bieda was named first-team All-Big Ten, while midfielder Zack Sikora was an honorable mention selection. Attacker Christian Trasolini was also named to the Players to Watch list. Bieda and Sikora earned Academic All-Big Ten plaudits.

The six programs that comprise Big Ten men’s lacrosse boast 56 national championships, with schools that have competed for more than a century. Johns Hopkins has played since 1883 and leads all schools with 44 national championships. Maryland has claimed 11 national titles, while Rutgers has also won a national championship. The Scarlet Knights launched men’s lacrosse in 1887, followed by programs starting in 1913 for Penn State, 1924 for Maryland, 1953 for Ohio State and 2012 for Michigan.

The 2016 Big Ten Men’s Lacrosse Tournament will be hosted by Johns Hopkins from May 5-7. The tournament will feature a four-team field, with two semifinal matches on Thursday and the championship game played on Saturday.

The preseason poll and complete Players to Watch list can be found below.

2016 BIG TEN MEN’S LACROSSE PRESEASON POLL

(1) JOHNS HOPKINS

(2) Maryland

(3) Ohio State

(4) Penn State

(5) Michigan

(6) Rutgers

 

Unanimous preseason favorite listed in ALL CAPS

 

2016 BIG TEN MEN’S LACROSSE PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ryan Brown, Sr., A, Johns Hopkins

Nick Fields, Jr., D, Johns Hopkins

Shack Stanwick, So., A, Johns Hopkins

Isaiah Davis-Allen, Jr., M, Maryland

Colin Heacock, Jr., M, Maryland

Mac Pons, Jr., D, Maryland

Gerald Logan, Jr., GK, Michigan

Kyle Jackson, Sr., A, Michigan

Mikie Schlosser, Jr., M, Michigan

Carter Brown, Sr., A, Ohio State

Tom Carey, Jr., GK, Ohio State

Robby Haus, Sr., D, Ohio State

Matt Florence, Jr., M, Penn State

Drake Kreinz, Jr., M, Penn State

TJ Sanders, Sr., A, Penn State

Scott Bieda, Sr., A, Rutgers

Zack Sikora, Sr., M, Rutgers

Christian Trasolini, Jr., A, Rutgers

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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