FRIDAY, MARCH 04, 2011
JU to face Denver and Air Force in Face-Off Classic this weekend
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Coming off a record performance in its previous game, the JU men’s lacrosse team will look to sustain its prolific scoring when it heads to Colorado to face Denver and Air Force on back-to-back days in the Face-Off Classic this weekend.

The Dolphins (1-1) posted the first road win in the two-year history of the program with a 24-4 victory over Mercer last week, setting school records for goals in a single game and individual quarter (10). JU will now try and post its first winning streak of the new campaign when it plays No. 18 Denver (1-1) on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Eastern at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.

The contest against the Pioneers conjures up happy memories for Dolphins fans. JU beat a Denver team also ranked 18th at the time in triple overtime on Feb. 21, 2010 for the first win in team history. Sophomore midfielder Cameron Mann played in that contest and already has four goals and three assists through the first two games to pace the offense.

“The rankings don’t mean a lot to us,” Mann said. “We feel like we can play with any team in the country. We just want to go out and work hard.”

Denver is coming off a win over Vermont and a 12-7 loss to a top-ranked Syracuse squad in the season opener. Like JU, Denver’s offense is lead by a sophomore midfielder named Cameron: Cameron Flint has four goals and two assists on just six shots to lead the Pioneers to a top-20 ranking in the USILA poll.

JU will try and counter the Pioneers with a blend of youth and experience. Freshman attackman Kyle Rebman scored three goals and added an assist in his college debut versus Mercer. Rebman contributed four points and a ground ball as a reserve.

Fellow freshman William Vogt also is making an immediate impact. The middie was dominant on faceoffs against Mercer, winning 16-of-21 while collecting 13 ground balls. His efforts helped JU build a 50-26 overall edge in ground balls against the Bears.

The experienced players have also performed well in the new campaign. Senior midfielder Bobby Stockton scored four goals against Georgetown in the Sunshine Classic season opener and added two more at Mercer for a team-leading six goals. Stockton will try and take aim against Denver and an Air Force squad that enters the weekend 0-2 with losses to Siena and Vermont.

The Falcons are looking to build its offense after averaging just six goals. Vinny Sandtory and Erik Smith are tied with an Air Force-best three goals each. Game time against Air Force is Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern.

JU will try and counter that attack with a midfield unit that includes Mann, Jeremy Tissenbaum and Donovan Lange. The three starting middies combined for seven goals against Mercer while holding the Bears to the lowest goals-against total in JU history.

“Last year when we first started playing together, we were all over the place,” Mann said. “But now, we know where each other will be on the field. The chemistry’s unreal and it’s great to know your teammates have your back, and those are two guys I can count on whenever I need them.”

Tanner Gard, Jake Ziegler and Corey Lovrich will be entrusted to key the defensive unit. JU forced six failed clears against Mercer, holding the Bears to just 24 shots.

- By Brian Bohl