Though it may be another year for the MAAC, the coaches of the league see little different from the past and have select 2001 and 2002 regular-season
champion Mercyhurst as the preseason favorite, according to a poll released today at the league’s media day.
Receiving four of 11 first-place votes, Mercyhurst tops the poll that seems divided into three distinct sections. The top four teams are very well separated from five through eight, which are similarly separated from the bottom three teams.
According to the coaches, Mercyhurst, Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart and Holy Cross will make a run at the 2002-03 title. The Lakers accumulated 109 points, followed by the newly-named Bobcats, which despite receiving more first-place votes (five), totaled only 105 points to fall into second. A dangerous Sacred Heart club received the final two first-place votes and is situated third with 101 points, while last year’s surprise, Holy Cross, finished fourth with 94 points.
The middle of the pack ranks far behind the top four as Connecticut and Canisius clock in the fifth and sixth positions with 69 and 68 points
respectively. Iona with 55 points and Army with 51 round out the coaches’ picks for playoff teams.
Completing the preseason poll are Fairfield (31 points), AIC (25 points) and Bentley (18 points) — three teams that all missed the playoffs last
season and are tabbed by the coaches to repeat such a fate.
As equal as the sectional divide in the preseason poll, so too were the league’s pre-season player awards. Mercyhurst’s Adam Tackaberry and Sacred Heart’s Martin Paquet were voted as the league’s co-preseason players of the year. And Sacred Heart goaltender Eddy Ferhi was named preseason goaltender of the year.
Joining these three players on the preseason first team are Quinnipiac’s Brian Herbert and Matt Erhart and Holy Cross’ R.J. Irving.
The preseason second team is comprised of Cross’ Brandon Doria and Jeff Dams, Merychurst’s Mike Muldoon, Sacred Heart’s Les Hrapchak, Amry’s Chris Casey, and Quinnipiac netminder Jamie Holden.
The MAAC is now in its fifth season of play and begins the league season Oct. 8 when defending champions Quinnipiac travels to Holy Cross.