FRIDAY, APRIL 08, 2011
Men’s lacrosse to host Siena in key MAAC contest on Saturday
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Another key Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game awaits the JU men’s lacrosse team on Saturday when the Dolphins host reigning league champion Siena. Game time at D.B. Milne Field is set for noon. Fans who cannot make it out to the game can catch the action through ASun.TV. and on 1010XL.

JU (4-6, 1-1) JU will look to stay within striking distance of first place in the MAAC standings and bounce back from a tough road loss at Manhattan last week. Siena (7-3, 1-1) won the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament last season and boasts the most overall wins out of any team in the conference this season.

The Dolphins will be looking to solidify its place in the conference tournament. The top-four teams in seven-team MAAC will qualify for the tournament on Canisius’ campus next month.

“Our goal since the start of the season has been to win the MAAC outright and be the last team standing in the conference tournament,” JU head coach Matt Kerwick said. “Siena was the class of the conference last year and presents a great opportunity to show us how we compare against the elite. Our goals are still attainable, but it’s not going to be handed to us. We’re going to have to take it.”

Kerwick will turn to his offense to beat the Saints. Max Gurowski continues to be one of JU’s best play-makers. The junior attacker has 20 points and is just four behind Cameron Mann for the team lead. Gurowski also has 16 assists, which is five more than the next closest teammate. Gurowski can also finish, scoring five goals.

Gurowski racked up two assists at Canisius, helping the Dolphins to its first-ever conference victory. He followed that with an assist each against Detroit and Manhattan, giving him points in all conference games and in nine of 10 contests overall.

Sophomore attacker Owen Green already has exceeded his 2010 output with 10 goals through his first 10 games in the new campaign. Green was one of three JU players to record two goals in the previous game against the Jaspers.

Siena enters as winners of six of its last seven games. But the Saints lost its last game, falling to Detroit, 13-11. The Dolphins beat Detroit earlier in the season, though the Saints boast a strong offense led by four double-digit scorers. Bryan Neufeld leads the group, who has 22 goals and 33 points through 10 games. Chris Roth has 19 goals on a team-high 55 shots.

The Dolphins will look to counteract Siena’s quick-strike ability by establishing a ball-possession advantage. Faceoff specialist William Vogt will be one of the keys to accomplishing that goal. The first-year middie has won 97-of-169 faceoffs for a .574 winning percentage.

Vogt has more than 75 percent of his team’s faceoff wins this season, allowing him to collect a Dolphins-leading 49 ground balls. Vogt will likely square off against Zach Triner, who carries a .525 (52-of-99) percentage as Siena’s go-to faceoff man.

Sophomore attacker TJ Kenary and senior midfielder Bobby Stockton are tied for the JU lead in goals with 16 apiece. The duo will be looking to help JU solve a season-long issue: man-up offense. Kenary and Stockton are tied for the team lead with a pair of man-up goals. But overall, JU has scored just seven man-up goals in 2011.

Last year, the Dolphins netted 27 man-up goals; logging a .409 conversion percentage in those opportunities. This year, the squad is just 7-for-37. Kerwick said he’s looking for the unit to bust out against a Siena unit that has allowed just six man-up goals in 47 chances (.128 conversion percentage).

Defensively, the Dolphins are again expected to be led by Tanner Gard and Jake Ziegler. Aside from goalie Peter DeLuca, the two defenders are the only Dolphins to start every game. Ziegler’s 10 caused turnovers marks the most on the team and Gard is right behind with nine. The two have combined for 43 ground balls.

- By Brian Bohl