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BOSTON, Mass. – Emmanuel College has been ranked first in the 2015 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Men's and Women's Lacrosse Pre-season Coaches' Poll, as voted upon by the league's head coaches. The conference office handed down the announcements on February 18 and February 19, respectively.  

On the men's side, the defending GNAC champion Saints finished 15-4 overall last season with an unblemished 10-0 mark in league play. They handled Becker, 9-3, in last year's GNAC title game en route to an NCAA Tournament appearance, where they fell to eventual national champion Tufts in the first round.

Emmanuel received seven of a possible nine first-place votes and 78 points overall in the poll.

The Saints return their top two point scorers from a year ago in junior Chris Curtis (Ashland, Mass.) and sophomore Tony Cibelli (Westboro, Mass.) as well as their starting defensive line of sophomores Brendan Gallagher (Solon, Ohio) and Chris Baglivi (Mattituck, N.Y.) and the 2014 GNAC Defensive Player of the Year Pat Heffernan (Pembroke, Mass.). Senior Austin Lauzier (Bedford, N.H.) will anchor the goal after an impressive junior campaign that saw his defense rank tied for fourth in the country in scoring defense.

2015 GNAC Men's Lacrosse Pre-season Coaches' Poll
1. Emmanuel (7) - 78
2. Lasell (1) - 69
3. Norwich (1) - 64
4. Mount Ida - 54
5. Rivier - 37
6. Saint Joseph's (Maine) - 34
7. Johnson & Wales - 32 
8. Albertus Magnus - 26
9. Anna Maria - 11

In the women's poll, the Saints garnered eight of a possible 10 first-place votes and received 98 points overall in the voting by the league's head coaches.

After posting a 15-3 overall record and perfect 10-0 mark in league play last season, the Saints went on to win the GNAC Tournament crown before falling to Wheaton (Mass.) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The squad returns everyone from the 2014 roster including junior Kristen Tuleja (Mansfield, Mass. ) who set the program record last season with 94 points on 63 goals and 31 assists. Sophomore goalie Lauren White (Lynnfield, Mass.) is also back after posting a 7.98 goals against average while recording 141 saves.

2015 GNAC Women's Lacrosse Pre-season Coaches' Poll
1. Emmanuel (8) - 98
2. Norwich (1) - 80
3. Saint Joseph's (Maine) - 71
4. Lasell - 70
5. Simmons - 65 
6. Johnson & Wales (1) - 54 
7. Rivier - 49 
8. Saint Joseph (Conn.) - 28
9. Mount Ida - 21
10. Albertus Magnus - 14 

*Some content courtsey of the GNAC Communications Office