After capturing the Patriot League tournament crown and advancing to the NCAA semifinals in 2016, Loyola Maryland has gotten the nod to lead the conference in 2017.
The Greyhounds collected 16 of 18 first-place votes and 128 overall points to earn top billing in the league's preseason poll, which was released Thursday evening. The No. 5 team in the preseason Maverik media poll has claimed at least a share of two of the conference's past three regular-season titles and won two of the past three tournament championships.
Navy, which is ranked No. 11 in the nation, was picked to finish second. The Midshipmen, who split last year's regular-season title with Loyola and made an appearance in the NCAA quarterfinals, earned the last two first-place votes and 112 points.
The rest of the poll was rounded out by Army (96 points), Bucknell (91), Boston University (63), Lehigh (61), Colgate (46), Holy Cross (35) and Lafayette (16).
Greyhounds sophomore attackman Pat Spencer was tabbed the preseason Offensive Player of the Year. The Davidsonville resident and Boys' Latin graduate became the first player in Patriot League history to win both Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors last spring.
Navy senior defenseman Chris Fennell was chosen as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year. He has captured that award in each of the past two years.
In addition to Spencer, Loyola placed redshirt senior midfielder Brian Sherlock and junior defenseman Foster Huggins on the preseason All-Patriot League team. For the Midshipmen, sophomore midfielder Greyson Torain and senior long-stick midfielder Matt Rees (Boys' Latin) joined Fennell on the all-conference team.