ATLANTA — It has won the national championship in two of the last three years, and now Grand Canyon enters the 2018 season as the No. 1 team in the Under Armour MCLA Division I Preseason Coaches Poll.
The Lopes snatched 22 of the 24 first-place votes for 590 points — 33 ahead of No. 2 Chapman. The Panthers, who grabbed the other two first-place votes, lost to GCU in the 2017 title game.
Cal Poly at No. 10 and UC Santa Barbara at No. 15 are the only other Southern California teams voted to the Top 25, although defending Division II national champion Concordia is the first team just outside the ranking, listed under “also receiving votes.”
After advancing to the national semifinals last spring, California sits at No. 3, well ahead of No. 4 Brigham Young. The Cougars edged out No. 5 Georgia Tech — the other semifinalist from last year — by three points.
The California roster has very SoCal feel to it, with 18 players listed from SoCal high schools:
- Los Angeles: Miles Rosberg, freshman, Sierra Canyon; Jake Pistotnik, sophomore, Sierra Canyon; Mark Galanti, sophomore, Chaminade; Matt Cooper, senior, Palos Verdes; Kitt Stoddard, freshman, Westlake; Nathon Chung, sophomore, Granada Hills Charter.
- Orange County: Cameron Lopez, junior, Capistrano Valley; Jake Lombardo, sophomore, Aliso Niguel; Nick White, senior, Beckman; Matt Keany, freshman, San Clemente; Michael Bellas, freshman, Northwood; Zach Shor, sophomore, St. Margaret’s.
- San Diego: Neil Lunsford, junior, The Bishop’s School; Max Scott, junior, La Jolla; Matt Lizanich, senior, The Bishop’s School; Nick Miller, sophomore, Cathedral Catholic; Dylan Baker, sophomore, Coronado; Tyler Umansky, sophomore, Coronado.
Both the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference (SLC) and the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference (RMLC) placed three teams in the Top 10, while the SouthEastern Lacrosse Conference (SELC) and Western Collegiate Lacrosse League (WCLL) each had two.
Arizona State at No. 7 was the third of four SLC teams in the Top 25, but Concordia, Arizona, San Diego State and UNLV are listed as also receiving votes.
RMLC club Utah, in its last season as an MCLA club before moving to NCAA Division I in 2019, was ranked No. 8.
2018 Under Armour MCLA Division I Preseason Coaches Poll
Rank Team Points First-place votes 1. Grand Canyon 590 22 2. Chapman 557 2 3. California 542 4. Brigham Young 501 5. Georgia Tech 498 6. Colorado 495 7. Arizona State 448 8. Utah 421 9. Virginia Tech 413 10. Cal Poly 387 11. Florida State 357 12. Colorado State 343 13. Michigan State 299 14. Oregon 291 15. UC Santa Barbara 220 16. Northeastern 204 17. Minnesota 174 18. Liberty 167 19. Southern Methodist 140 19. Connecticut 140 21. Sonoma State 108 22. Simon Fraser 90 23. Texas 84 24. Oregon State 75 25. Boston College 68
Also receiving votes: Concordia-Irvine (58), Arizona (52), San Diego State (22), Pittsburgh (19), Davenport (10), UNLV (7), Missouri (7), Santa Clara (3), Boise State (2), Oklahoma (2), Texas Christian (2), Georgia (1), Washington (1), South Carolina (1), New Hampshire (1).