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Keiser Jumps to #3: NAIA Lacrosse All Stars Coaches Poll

The NAIA has been growing for number of years now but there as always been one consistent road bump, being the lack of national coverage. The league currently only offers one ranking system which features a rating committee comprised of eight raters; two raters per conference/group. All of these rankings are handled on an NAIA level and release publicly every other week compared to once a week.

We decided we would take this into our own hands and contact every NAIA coach directly to get their thoughts on the top ten on a week-to-week basis. This way we can get a better understanding of what coaches across the league value in a national title caliber team and see how their thoughts relate to the NAIA polls.

Here is our first Lacrosse All Stars NAIA Coaches’ Poll of the 2023 season.

Lacrosse All Stars NAIA Coaches’ Poll

Poll Methodology

Every coach in the NAIA was sent a poll early Monday morning and was given twenty-four hours to provide their top ten rankings. It was as simple as ranking teams one through ten. With this data, we then were able to tally the votes via a point system and comprise the final rankings which you see below.

  1. Reinhardt
  2. Indiana Tech
  3. Keiser
  4. Cumberlands
  5. Aquinas
  6. St. Ambrose
  7. Webber
  8. Tennessee Wesleyan
  9. Siena Heights
  10. William Penn

How do these results compare the NAIA rankings?

NAIA Men’s Lacrosse Preseason Poll

Poll Methodology

  • The rating committee is comprised of eight raters – two raters per conference/group.
  • Each conference/group produces a conference rating from which raters will use to compile their national ballot. Only teams represented on the conference rating are eligible for the national ballot.
  • Each rater will submit a top 15 ballot, which will be used to produce the Top 10 national rating and a list of other teams receiving votes.
  1. Reinhardt
  2. Indiana Tech
  3. Cumberlands
  4. Aquinas
  5. St. Ambrose
  6. Keiser
  7. Tennessee Wesleyan
  8. Siena Heights
  9. Benedictine
  10. Webber

What Does This Tell Us?

Both rankings ended up being relatively similar when compared to one another, however there were some noticeable differences that I think are worth talking about.

Keiser Jumps to No.3

As someone who follows the NAIA, this did not surprise me at all. Keiser has always been a solid lacrosse program but has never really seemed to be able to get over that hump. The Seahawks had a shaky 2022 season mostly due to competing in the competivtive AAC where they finished the year 8-6. They were able to overcome Reinhardt early in the season, but came up short against the Eagles in the AAC Tournament and at nationals. Beating a highly ranked Webber team twice certainly boosted the team’s confidence, but losses to Cumberlands and Tennessee Wesleyan really put a damper on the season as a whole.

What’s different this year? Coach Johnston brought in a plethora of freshman and transfers improving the 28 man roster to 39. The difference maker this season is Christian Tomei, the 6’4″ goalie who spent time at both Ohio State and Jacksonville before joining the Keiser lacrosse program this year. Tomei was a three-time US Lacrosse All-American during his high school career and was named Mr. Florida Lacrosse in 2019 after making 235 saves in 21 games.

With a tougher schedule this season including William Penn, Indiana Tech, and Siena Heights, can the Keiser Seahawks live up to this NAIA Lacrosse All Stars Coaches’ Poll No.3 ranking?

Benedictine Drops Out of the Rankings

The Lacrosse All Stars Coaches’ Poll is interesting because every coach is given the option to speak up and give their thoughts about who they feel are the best teams in the country. Coaches will have different opinions regarding quality wins, strength of schedule, and conference standings. These thoughts and feelings should be reflected in each coaches’ poll and Benedictine falling out of the rankings is a prime example of that.

The Ravens went 10-7 last season but lost almost every big game they played in during the regular season (Indiana Tech, Siena Heights, St. Ambrose, Cumberlands). On top of a decent win over William Penn, Benedictine was able to upset St. Ambrose in the KCAC Championship game before losing to Indiana Tech at nationals in a high scoring affair.

With the KCAC seemingly sizzling out of relevance, the Heart of America conference brings in a mixed bag when it comes to talent (Benedictine, Clarke University, Missouri Valley College, William Penn, St. Ambrose, and Mount Vernon Nazarene). There appears to be too many questions regarding the new conference stacked on top of questions regarding the legitimacy of Benedictine’s season last year for coaches to respect the Ravens as a top ten program.