FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2012
JU in for another MAAC battle vs. VMI
Cameron Mann (4) is only two points away from 100 in his career.
Cameron Mann (4) is only two points away from 100 in his career.
The Jacksonville University men’s lacrosse team continues its Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play Saturday with a 1 p.m. game against VMI at D.B. Milne Field.

The Dolphins (3-4, 0-1) are coming off a 9-7 MAAC opening loss to Marist last week and coach Guy Van Arsdale continues to look for consistency from the Dolphins.

Against the Red Foxes, he said, the team played hard but not smart and with little poise.

“The lesson in that is it’s not enough to play hard. You have to play hard and know what you’re doing,’’ he said. “You’ve got to execute, you’ve got to handle the ball throughout the game not just sometimes and right now we’re a little streaky. We need to be more consistent in our mental game.’’

The Keydets (1-7, 0-1) had Siena on the ropes last week and let one slip away.

“They’ve been playing really well and lost a heartbreaker to Siena this last weekend giving up two goals in the last minute of the game when they had the game in hand,’’ Van Arsdale said. “I’m sure they’d like it back.’’

VMI, according to Van Arsdale, is very good at playing within itself.

“They know who they are and they play to that strength,’’ he said. “Offensively, they’re pretty deliberate and they get the ball to the right guys, their scorers.’’

The scorers include a pair of seniors and a freshman. Senior midfielder Keith Long leads the team in scoring with 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) and classmate Drew Long has nine goals. Freshman attacker Mike Deblasio has 12 points (nine goals, three assists). Face off specialist Stephen Robarge is winning face offs at an eye-catching 61.6 percent clip.

The VMI defense will present a new look to the Dolphins.

“Defensively they play a lot of zone and slow it down,’’ Van Arsdale said. “It makes it a little more difficult; we haven’t seen a lot of that this year so that’s new for us.’’

The Dolphins will be led by junior midfield Cameron Mann who has scored at least a point in all 35 games in school history. He has 46 career goals, 52 assists for 98 points.

Mann also leads the team in scoring with 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) followed by freshman Ari Waffle and his 18 points (11/7).

Van Arsdale says he understands what his team is in for.

“I think it’s going to be another typical MAAC game where it’s going to be touch and go the whole time,’’ he said. “It will be back and forth and I expect it to be a close game.’’