High Point, NC – Following another tremendous season that resulted in an on-going NCAA Division II record 14th straight postseason appearance and fifth straight league regular season and tournament championships, Limestone men’s lacrosse has been picked as the favorite in the annual Conference Carolinas Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
The Saints delivered an impressive campaign in 2013 that saw them go 16-2 overall and a perfect 6-0 in Conference Carolinas action while reaching the NCAA Division II National Semifinals and coming just seconds away from a second consecutive berth in the national title game. Both of those losses were by just one goal and came to eventual national champion Le Moyne (7-6) and national runner-up Mercyhurst (18-17).
After racking up a school-record 13 wins in 2013, the Pfeiffer Falcons have been picked to finish second in the conference. The program has increased its win total each of the past four seasons, and went 13-4 overall and 5-1 in conference play a season ago. Pfeiffer is coming off back-to-back second place finishes and will look to take the next step under first year coach Jason Lange.
Lange will benefit from the return of two Preseason All-Americans, Steven Tilmon and Hayden Kirk, as named by InsideLacrosse.com. Midfielder Steven Tilmon finished the season as Pfeiffer’s second leading goal scorer with 31 tallies, while adding 12 assists and 43 points. Tilmon ended the season in the top 10 of the conference in goals, shots and shots on goal and turned up his production in conference play as his 16 goals were third in the league.
Hayden Kirk started 15 games in goal last season and tallied 174 saves and an 8.63 goals against average, both good for second in the conference. Kirk recorded a season-high 15 saves in a 16-8 win over Catawba on Feb. 27 and allowed six or fewer goals in five contests. Kirk was especially stout at home, allowing only 7.09 goals per game.
Also returning for Pfeiffer is James Shepard, who scored a team-high 34 goals and also led the team with 50 points, while earning First Team All-Conference accolades.
Pfeiffer opens the season on Friday, Feb. 7 when they host Florida Southern at 7 p.m.
Conference Carolinas Men's Lacrosse Pre-Season Poll (# of First Place Votes in Parenthesis)
Limestone 16 (4)
Pfeiffer 13 (1)
Mount Olive 9
Belmont Abbey 8