COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – The St. John’s University (MN) lacrosse team has been nationally ranked as the No. 2 MCLA Division II team in the MCLA Coaches Poll as well as by Lacrosse Magazine in its annual Preseason Poll.
“We’re obviously excited about the ranking but it puts a pretty large target on our backs,” St. John’s University coach Derek Daehn said. “We know we’re going to get everyone’s best game when they play us so we’re working hard to be ready for any challenge.”
A total of three UMLC teams, including St. John’s, were in the top ten of both the MCLA Coaches Poll and Lacrosse Magazine Preseason Poll.
The University of St. Thomas, defending UMLC DII Champions and MCLA DII National Champions, was awarded the top ranking in both polls. North Dakota State University was ranked No. 4 in the Lacrosse Magazine Poll and No. 7 in the MCLA Coaches Poll.
“I think having St. John’s, St. Thomas and North Dakota State ranked that high shows that the amount of respect the MCLA has for the region,” Daehn said. “It’s always a battle every year in our conference and division. It’s obvious that this year won’t be any different.”
St. John’s will see its fair share of ranked opponents during the 2014 season as all out-of-conference opponents are in the Top 25 of the MCLA Coaches Poll with only one team not included in Lacrosse Magazine’s Preseason Poll (Lindenwood-Belleville).
Out-of-conference opponents include University of Dayton, DePaul University, Grand Valley State University, Grove City College and Indiana Institute of Technology – all ranked in the Top 20 of both the MCLA Coaches Poll and Lacrosse Magazine Preseason Poll.
“We intentionally try to have a tough out-of-conference schedule every year,” Daehn said. “It’s important to show the selection committee at the end of the year that you belong in the National Tournament. With no automatic qualifier this year for UMLC Division II, we need to make sure to leave no doubt when it comes down to Selection Sunday.”
The UMLC Division II lost its automatic qualifier to the National Tournament for the upcoming season when Carleton College failed to field a team reducing the size of the conference’s division to five teams – St. John’s, Bethel University, North Dakota State, St. Olaf College and St. Thomas.
St. Olaf and Bethel were not ranked in either poll; however, Bethel was listed amongst the teams receiving votes in the MCLA Coaches Poll.
The Johnnies will kick off the 2014 season with a pair of scrimmages against UMLC Division I teams: Minnesota State University-Mankato on Friday, Feb. 7 at 10:30 p.m. at the Plymouth Creek Center Fieldhouse and the University of Minnesota on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 10 a.m. at the Eden Prairie Dome.
The first regular season game for St. John’s will be on Friday, Feb. 28 at 9 p.m. when the Johnnies take on Grand Valley State at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn. The Lakers were ranked No. 4 in the MCLA Coaches Poll and No. 6 in the Lacrosse Magazine Preseason Poll.
“Our team is working hard and they’re excited to get the season underway,” Daehn said. “We have our sights set on National Championship Saturday in Orange County.
“That’s what drives us every day and that’s our goal.”
|4.||Grand Valley State|
|5.||U.S. Coast Guard|
|7.||North Dakota State|
|10.||Palm Beach Atlantic|
|13.||Florida Gulf Coast|
|15.||Cal State Fullerton|
|17.||Sam Houston State|
|4.||North Dakota State|
|6.||Grand Valley State|
|7.||U.S. Coast Guard|
|12.||Palm Beach Atlantic|
|13.||Cal State Fullerton|
|14.||Florida Gulf Coast|
|20.||Sam Houston State|