Queens’ men’s and women’s lacrosse teams are again the favorites to win the South Atlantic Conference regular-season title this season.
The Royals were the choice among the league’s coaches in a preseason poll held in mid-January, the third straight year that both the men’s and women’s teams topped the poll.
Queens’ men, which finished 9-8 overall and shared the SAC regular-season title with Coker after a 7-1 league finish, led the 2016 coaches poll with four first-place votes and 75 total points.
Lenoir-Rhyne was a close second in men’s voting, getting more first place votes (five) than the Royals, but just 70 points overall. Wingate was third (58 points), followed by Coker (54), Mars Hill (50), Catawba (30), Tusculum (27), Lincoln Memorial (19) and Brevard (18).
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In the women’s poll, the Royals – winners of the past two SAC regular-season and tournament titles, and coming off a 13-5 season in 2015 – earned eight first-place votes and 72 points overall.
Lenoir-Rhyne also came in second in the women’s poll with one first-place vote and 64 points overall. Tusculum was third (53 points), followed by Catawba (50), Wingate (48), Coker (40), Newberry (29), Brevard (22) and Lincoln Memorial (18).
Queens’ men had four players named to the SAC preseason all-conference team: senior attacker Garrett Chan, junior faceoff specialist Jonathan Paige and senior goalkeeper Eric Dolan were all first-team picks, and senior defender Adam Oscienny was second team.
The Royals’ women dominated the SAC’s preseason all-conference team selections with seven players picked. Six players were named to the first team – junior attacker Abigail Paulus, senior attacker Maggie Masters, senior midfielder Brittany Larranaga, junior midfielder Kelly Dowd, senior defender Bridgette Larranaga and junior defender Aarika Kaester – while senior defender Sydney Dishman was named to the second team.
Queens’ men opens its season Feb. 7 at Florida Southern in Lakeland, Fla. The Royals first home match is Feb. 13 against Alderson Broaddus.
Queens’ women, who are 16-0 in conference matches since joining the SAC in 2014, opens its season Feb. 21 against Tampa at the Queens Sports Complex.
Four Royals at Arena Pro Swim Series event: Four members of Queens’ men’s and women’s swimming teams took part in the Arena Pro Swim Series event in Austin, Texas, the week of Jan. 15-17.
Sophomore Dion Dreesens had the best finish among the four Royals swimmers, coming in sixth in the men’s 200-meter freestyle. He qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the event with a time of 1 minute, 49.57 seconds.
Dreesens also qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the men’s 100-meter freestyle, finishing 13th overall in 50.36 seconds. He also finishd 18th in the 400-meter freestyle (3:55.92)
Sophomore Patricia Castro-Ortega had the best finish from Queens’ women, winning the B-Main and posting the ninth-fastest overall time in the 400-meter individual medley.
Her time of 4:45.34 was also good enough to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Castro-Ortega, the women’s swimmer of the year at last year’s NCAA Division II national championships, also finished 13th in the 400-meter freestyle (4:15.01), 20th in the 200-meter freestyle (2:01.21) and 32nd in the 100-meter freestyle (56.85).
Sophomore Nicholas Arakelian finished 14th in the men’s 400-meter individual medley in 4:28.38. He also finished 70th in the 400-meter freestyle (4:08.08).
Senior Caroline Arakelian finished 29th in the women’s 200-meter backstroke (2:18.30), 66th in the 400-meter individual medley (5:10.77), and 97th in the 100-meter freestyle (58.54).
Bill Kiser is a freelance writer: email@example.com.