RIT, Elmira Top Picks in ECAC West

Defending ECAC West tournament champion, RIT, is the coaches’ preseason choice to claim the regular-season men’s title based upon results of the 2002-03 preseason poll. Meanwhile, Elmira, the 2002 NCAA Division III National Champion, was picked as the preseason favorite in the ECAC West women’s conference.

Coaches could not vote for their own team.

RIT, which posted a 23-2-2 overall and a 9-1 conference record a year ago, amassed 25 points to top the six-team men’s poll. A 2002 NCAA Division III championship participant, coach Wayne Wilson’s squad garnered five first-place votes.

Manhattanville, which returns 22 varsity players, took the No. 2 slot in the poll. The Valiants went 16-7-3 overall, 5-4-1 within the conference last season, and earned one first-place vote.

Elmira, last year’s ECAC West Championship tournament runner-up, was voted third. Tim Ceglarski’s team went 18-9 overall, 8-2 in the conference last season.

Utica (10-12-3, 2-7-1) was fourth, Hobart (10-16-0, 5-5-0) was fifth and Neumann was picked last.

On the women’s side, Elmira, which posted a 26-1-1 overall and 17-1-1 conference record in 2001-02, received 29 points, including four first-place votes to top the seven-team poll. Coach Jamie Wood’s Soaring Eagles enter the season as the defending regular-season champion as well as the champion of the first ECAC West Championship.

Plattsburgh State was picked second, followed by Utica, Buffalo State, Neumann, Cortland State and Chatham.

Plattsburgh (21-4-2, 16-2-2 last season), which finished second to Elmira in double overtime in the conference tournament a year ago, earned two first-place votes in earning the No. 2 spot.

Chatham, in seventh place, is under guidance of head coach Mike Joseph, beginning its first season in the ECAC.