SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo University lacrosse team garnered more preseason accolades this winter as defenseman Ryu Arakawa was named Face-Off Yearbook Preseason All-America Honorable Mention. On top of the All-America selection, Arakawa was selected to the Deep South All-Conference team along with his teammate and fellow defenseman Alec Rahe.

Arakawa, a Deep South All-Conference selection from a year before, helps anchor one of the best defenses in the Deep South. His tremendous speed, coupled with excellent ball handling skills. has helped his efforts in becoming one of the best defensemen in the conference.

The Wesley Chapel, Fla. native played in all 16 games for the Lions last season and started in 13 of them. He scooped up 37 ground balls, while leading the team with six caused turnovers.

Prior to the Arakawa nomination, only goalie David Erdman had earned preseason All-America honors.

His teammate, Defenseman Alex Rahe, was named to the Deep South All-Conference team following last year’s 8-8 campaign. That momentum carried over to this season, as Rahe was named to the Face-Off Yearbook Preseason All-Conference squad.  His tenacity on the defensive side of the ball is a key attribute to his excelled level of play. While his physical size and strength makes it difficult for any attacker to begin an offensive possession.

He concluded the 2008 campaign with 49 ground balls, caused three turnovers and started in 15 of 16 contests.

The duo, paired with veteran defenders Jeff Conroy and Pat LoGiudice, solidified a Lions’ defense that ranked tenth in the country in total goals against allowing only 129.

Saint Leo was ranked fourth in the Face-Off Year Book Preseason Conference poll, with rival Mars Hill grabbing the top spot. Wingate, Catawba and Rollins claimed spots three through five, while newcomer Florida Southern closed-out the six-team league.

The Lions highly touted defense will be put to the test all season long as they face three nationally ranked teams in the top ten. Their first challenge will come in their home opener on February 20 as they take on No. 6-ranked Adelphi University. Face-off is set for 7:00 pm.