The Generals were picked to finish sixth among the seven league schools in voting conducted by the ODAC's head coaches. Hampden-Sydney topped the poll with two first-place votes and a total of 44 points. Emory & Henry also received two first-place votes and totaled 38 points, while Bridgewater got two first-place nods and tallied 36 points to rank third in the poll. Defending ODAC champion Randolph-Macon received one first-place vote and 23 points and was followed by W&L (20 pts.) and Guilford (8 pts.).
The variety of first-place votes mirrors the league's parity in recent years with four different teams claiming the conference crown over the past four years. Bridgewater won the title in 2005, Washington and Lee was champion in 2006, Hampden-Sydney claimed the crown in 2007 and Randolph-Macon won the league last season.
Washington and Lee finished the 2008 season with a 4-6 overall record and a 1-5 mark in the ODAC. The Generals began the season 4-1 before dropping the final five games of the season. However, W&L held halftime leads in four of those five losses and returns 40 letterwinners and 14 starters this fall. Headlining the returnees are a trio of returning All-ODAC honorees and the 2008 ODAC Rookie of the Year.
Senior guard Charlie Craigle (Greenville, N.C./Rose) garnered First Team All-ODAC and First Team All-State laurels and junior guard Greg Kurkis (Roswell, Ga./Westminster) received Second Team All-ODAC recognition last season in helping the Generals' offense average 162.7 rushing yards and 23.6 points per game. Both return to anchor the offensive line in 2009. Senior Matt Cassilly (Gambrills, Md./Archbishop Spaulding) also returns after posting Second Team All-ODAC honors at linebacker last fall after totaling 62 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two interceptions. Sophomore Charlie Westfal (New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan) is back at quarterback after winning the ODAC's Rookie of the Year Award in 2008. Westfal rushed for 511 yards and three touchdowns and completed 55.2 percent of his passes for 1,310 yards and 10 more touchdowns.
Frank Miriello returns for his 15th season in charge of the Generals looking to rebound from the just the fourth losing season of his tenure and the first in five years. The veteran coach has compiled a 71-67-1 (.514) overall record and is just five wins away from tying Gary Fallon (1978-94) as W&L's all-time winningest coach.
Washington and Lee gets underway on September 5 as it hosts Franklin & Marshall for a 1:00 pm contest.
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