FRIDAY, APRIL 15, 2011
Men’s lacrosse hosts Marist in key MAAC contest on Saturday
As the season hits the stretch run, the JU men’s lacrosse team will look to stay in the playoff hunt when it hosts Marist in a critical Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference matchup on Saturday at noon at D.B. Milne Field.

JU (4-7, 2-2) needs a win over the Red Foxes (4-6, 1-2) to move up the league standings. Only the top-four teams in the seven-school league will qualify for next month’s conference tournament. JU enters the weekend in fifth place, trailing Manhattan by a half game.

The Dolphins will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak after winning the first two MAAC contests of the season. Head coach Matt Kerwick’s team lost league games to Manhattan and Siena by a combined three goals. With just two MAAC games remaining, JU will look to turn things around against a Marist team that enters with a three-game winning streak after besting VMI, Lafayette and Rutgers.

“This is going to be am intense and fast matchup,” Kerwick said. “They are well coached and they are playing their best lacrosse of the season coming in. Our team has had two great weeks of practice and they fully realize the importance of the remaining games on our schedule.”

JU continued to crack the national leaderboards this week in scoring offense. JU is averaging 10.82 goals per game, placing it 11th nationally for averaging scoring offense in Division I. The Dolphins also been aggressive on the other side of the ball, causing 103 turnovers for a 9.36 caused-turnovers per game average that ranks 10th.

The squad continues to rocket up the national leaderboard in ground balls, tying Virginia for the highest per-game average in the country at 40.91. The Dolphins have 450 ground balls through 11 games to match the Cavaliers.

Leading the JU offense is Cameron Mann. The sophomore middie is coming off a career-high seven-point game against Siena, tallying four goals and three assists. Mann leads the Dolphins in goals (17) and points (31) and will look to continue that success against a Marist defense that allows an average of 9.20 goals per game.

Marist goalie Brendan Price has played every second in the cage this season, sporting a .511 save percentage (96 saves total). The Dolphins will look to test Price and continue to push a fast paced that culminated with 55 shots last game versus Siena. That shot total was the second-highest in program history, with Jeremy Tissenbaum and Mann each firing seven shots and Donovan Lange registering a game-high nine shots in the effort.

Like Price, JU freshman goalie Peter DeLuca has started every game for his team. The first-year netminder has made 115 saves and has posted a .498 save percentage.

JU’s defense will face a difficult challenge in trying to curtail Marist’s attack. But the Dolphins have the skilled players to face the challenge. Defender Jake Ziegler caused four turnovers and collected five ground balls versus Siena and Tanner Gard caused three turnovers and picked up four ground balls.

Stephen Spindler also made a positive contribution as the other starting defenseman, adding two caused turnovers against the Saints. The trio will look to pressure the Red Foxes and sophomore attacker Connor Rice.

Rice is the reigning MAAC “Offensive Player of the Week” after recording 10 points on five goals and five assists. For the season, Rice is leading the MAAC in points per game with 3.30 and assists per game at 1.90.

Fans who cannot make it to Milne Field on Saturday can catch the action through ASun.TV.

- By Brian Bohl