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Patriot League men's lacrosse outlook for 2015

Team on top: Loyola Maryland cruised to an unblemished record in the Patriot League and conference regular-season and tournament crowns in its debut in the league, but a similar trifecta could be tough. The Greyhounds graduated five starters, including their top playmaker (Justin Ward), defenseman (Joe Fletcher) and goalkeeper (Jack Runkel). But the program does welcome back junior attackman Zach Herreweyers, who recorded 19 goals and three assists in 2013 but sat out last season because of academic issues, and a deep midfield. And the players have a been-there, done-that mentality.

Team on the rise: If Loyola is the No. 1 seed, Lehigh should be 1A. The Mountain Hawks – who lost to the Greyhounds in last spring's Patriot League tournament final – did graduate their best defenseman in Ty Souders (44 ground balls and 14 caused turnovers), but they welcome back nine starters, including their entire attack and midfield. Lehigh, which won back-to-back tournament championships in 2012 and 2013, has the pedigree to re-assert itself in the conference once again.

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Team on the decline: Bucknell has gone three seasons since capturing the conference tournament crown in 2011. Last spring, the program went 4-4 in league play to finish fifth, and against the likes of Loyola, Lehigh, Army and Colgate, it would seem that a return to the top is unlikely. The Bison do return their top playmaker in senior attackman David Dickson (15 goals and 28 assists), but they lost one starter each from their attack, midfield and defense.

Prime-time player: When Army won the Patriot League championship in 2010, that squad was led by a pair of attackmen in Jeremy Boltus and Garrett Thul. This year's hope hinges on senior attackman John Glesener, who ranked fourth in Division I in goals per game (3.1) and 11th in points per game (4.1). Glesener, whose 43 goals in 2014 were tied for the fourth-most in a single season, was chosen by the Boston Cannons with the fifth overall pick in Friday's Major League Lacrosse draft.

Underrated player: With Glesener leading the way on offense, the Black Knights can rely on Sam Somers. The senior was one of three goalkeepers to rank in the top five in both goals-against average and save percentage. (Bryant's Gunnar Waldt and Loyola's Jack Runkel were the others.) Somers – who was picked by the Rochester Rattlers in the seventh round of the MLL draft – led the country in goals-against average (5.43) and ranked second in save percentage (.622).

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