MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced its Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship selections last night, setting the field for the 36-team tournament set to open tomorrow.
Morrisville State (11-7), the automatic qualifier for the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC), will open tournament play in the first round Tuesday, May 8th on the campus of Salisbury University, against Eastern University. The opening face-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. tomorrow in Salisbury, Maryland.
Those unable to attend the contest will be able to follow the action live through live stats and video. Links are posted on www.morrisvillestateathletics.com.
Morrisville State will be making their fourth straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, after edging Bryn Athyn in a close 11-10 NEAC final to earn their fourth consecutive tournament title.
The seniors are one of the most decorated groups for the Mustangs to take the field, and is the first class to make four straight appearances, combining for a 31-1 NEAC record, and an 8-0 NEAC Tournament record.
The Mustangs will have no easy feat, though, as they face a tough squad from Eastern University. Eastern claimed the MAC Freedom Title with a 17-14 defeat of Misericordia on Saturday, to enter the contest with a 12-6 overall record.
The Eagles average 11.06 goals per game, and are led by junior attackman Mark Buannic who to date on the season has collected 49 points behind 36 goals and 13 assists. Trent Ashton has also served as a key contributor for Eastern, collecting 27 goals and 18 assists for 45 points across 18 games at attack as a freshman.
Jameal Hadeed has served as Eastern's main goalkeeper, starting all 18 games, 1015 minutes, while allowing 145 goals for a 8.57 goals against average. The senior has also collected 208 total stops on the year, 12 times in double digits with a single game high 25 coming against Misericordia mid-season.
Both squads have one opponent in common on the season, Kings College, whom the Eagles defeated by a final score of 11-6, April 28th.
Morrisville State, also handed Kings College a loss, but by a narrow margin, 11-10, back in mid-March.
Eastern's defense will have their hands full in the well-rounded attacking unit for the Mustangs, as four have posted 40+ points across the season, including leading scorer Nick Geswaldo (Lafayette, N.Y.) who has collected 46 goals and 19 assists for 65 points. Geswaldo is no stranger to scoring in NCAA tournaments, having collected five goals in tourney action thus far in his career.
The Eagles will have to keep an eye on sophomore Chris Dovi (Cortland, N.Y.), Logan Peters (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) and Brad Biggs (Tully, N.Y.) who each are separated by just one point (46, 47, and 48, respectively), but all carry critical experience into the tournament as well.
While the Mustangs have the edge in scoring per game averaging 12.11 goals per game, and have been tested with tough non-conference action through the season, the difference will come down to the play of the defensive unit, who despite allowing a mere 8.78 goals per game on the season, have just two returning to the unit with prior NCAA tourney experience.
Though young, the defensive unit for Morrisville State has caused havoc for opponents, and at critical times, forced key turnovers. Freshman Chad Temple (Minoa, N.Y.) enters the contest with a team high 29 caused turnovers, adding 48 ground balls, while fellow long sticks Trevor Jones (Lafayette, N.Y.) and Brendan Boles (Goshen, N.Y.) have added eight and 13 caused turnovers, respectively. Both have combined for 37 ground balls as well.
Morrisville State will also have the backing of senior goalkeeper Dan Sherlock (Tully, N.Y.) who has started all 18 games between the pipes and recorded 154 saves for a 51.9 save percentage. The senior has posted an 8.94 goals against average, adding 26 ground balls and eight caused turnovers.
The winner of the first round contest will face host Salisbury University Wednesday, May 9th at 7 p.m. in the second round. Salisbury, ranked no. 7, was given a first round bye after defeating no. 2 York College 11-8 in the Capital Athletic Conference Championship tournament Saturday evening.
Salisbury is the two-time defending Division III National Champion, and has 12 total NCAA titles to their backing.
Additional information will be announced once released, including ticket information for those wishing to attend the contest.
Morrisville State College's curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.
The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2018 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2018 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.