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Denison Tabbed As Favorite For 2015 Season

Denison Tabbed As Favorite For 2015 Season

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North Coast Athletic Conference coaches have tabbed Denison as the favorite for the 2015 men's lacrosse season based on preseason balloting.

The Big Red, who are the defending NCAC regular season and tournament champions, earned six of nine possible first-place votes cast by league coaches to total 78 points. Ohio Wesleyan, which leads the league with 18 conference championships, earned the final three first-place votes and finished second in the poll with 75 points. Wittenberg landed in the third spot with 59 points, followed by Kenyon (55), Oberlin (43), Wooster (41), DePauw (26), Hiram (16) and Wabash (12).

After leading the nation in team defense last season, the Big Red will again rely on a veteran backline in 2015, led by senior All-American Drew Newman (Pittsburgh, PA/Upper St. Clair) {pictured} who started all 20 games last spring and accumulated 38 groundballs and 25 caused turnovers. While junior Blair Farinholt (Richmond, VA/St. Christopher's School) is the Big Red's leading returning scorer from a year ago with 45 points (34 g, 11 a), classmate Eric Baumgardner (Washington, DC/Gonzaga College) will again jump-start the DU offense from the faceoff X after finishing 11th in the nation last spring in faceoff percentage by winning 246-of-369 attempts. Baumgardner also scooped up 139 groundballs in 2014 to lead the Big Red in that category as well. The Big Red boast a strong contingent in goal this season, led by the junior duo of Clark Bullington (Houston, TX/Strake Jesuit College Prep) and Chris Thomas (Cockeysville, MD/Loyola Blakefield). In 13 starts last spring, Thomas accumulated 76 saves and allowed 69 goals in  minutes of action for a 5.88 goals-against-average, while Bullington started the final six games of the season, collecting 53 saves and allowing 41 goals in 423 minutes for a 5.81 GAA. Head Coach Mike Caravana returns to the sidelines in Granville this spring for his 22nd season as one of the winningest coaches in college lacrosse with an overall record of 225-81 (.735) in 21 years at the helm.

Ohio Wesleyan leads all NCAC teams with 18 championships in 30 years. Denison, which has won at least a share of four-straight league titles, follows OWU with 15 all-time, while Wittenberg has two and Kenyon and Wooster can each boast one championship. The NCAC has had tri-champions on three separate occasions, first in 2000 when the Big Red, Bishops and Lords shared the title, then in 2004, when Denison, OWU and Wooster each had a piece of the crown, only to have it happen again in 2011 with Denison, Wittenberg and Ohio Wesleyan sharing the top spot. The conference also saw Ohio Wesleyan and Wittenberg share the conference crown in 2010.

Founded in 1983, the North Coast Athletic Conference is made up of ten academically selective colleges and universities - Allegheny College, DePauw University, Denison University, Hiram College, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Wabash College, Wittenberg University and the College of Wooster, along with affiliate member, Earlham College (field hockey). The NCAC sponsors 23 championship sports, 11 for men and 12 for women.


2015 North Coast Athletic Conference
Men's Lacrosse
Coaches' Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses, followed by total points)

1. Denison (6) 78
2. Ohio Wesleyan (3) 75
3. Wittenberg 59
Kenyon 55
5. Oberlin 43
6. Wooster
DePauw 26
8. Hiram 16
9. Wabash 12