Men’s lacrosse to host Limestone in scrimmage on Saturday
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With its regular season opener less than two weeks away, the JU men’s lacrosse team will hit the field in preparation for the 2011 campaign when it hosts Limestone College in a noon scrimmage on Saturday at D.B. Milne Field.

JU is coming off a 6-7 season in the program’s inaugural year. Head coach Matt Kerwick will be looking to build off that effort, starting with the Moe’s Southwest Grill Sunshine Classic on Feb. 20 against Georgetown at EverBank Field.

The Dolphins return 27 players from last season, including three of its top-five leading goal scorers. Kerwick will try and build off a successful first year and be competitive as it joins the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

“It was a very young team last year and now the right guys are here and working hard,” he said. “Last year at this time, we weren’t sure how good we could possibly be. This year, we are a lot more comfortable and the guys understand our approach.

“We know the talent level we have and the expectations are high now. We want to be in a position to win the league championship late in the year.”

Sophomore attacker TJ Kenary is JU’s leading scorer after registering 20 goals and eight assists. Middies Cameron Mann (18 goals) and Jeremy Tissenbaum (15 goals) will also look to bolster the offense and improve on their 2010 outputs.

An exhibition against Limestone will also allow the JU coaching staff to see the team’s 21 new players, including 17 freshmen, in live game action.

“These guys are itching to see a different color jersey after practicing against each other for so long,” Kerwick said. “There’s 3-4 freshman who have separated themselves and they will see a lot of minutes for us. The rest of the younger guys can take some more time to learn now.”

Limestone, located in Gaffney, S.C., is a Division II school that plays in the Conference Carolinas. The Saints are coming off an impressive year, going 12-1 in 2010 while out-scoring opponents, 172-79. JU’s faceoff specialists will also be tested as Limestone posted a 65 percent winning percentage in that department last season.

After the Limestone contest, the Dolphins will embark on a challenging 14-game regular season schedule. After playing Georgetown in the home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, JU will play Denver, Air Force and Rutgers on the road in the schedule’s non-conference portion.

The Dolphins will move from an independent in men’s lacrosse to the talented Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference starting this year. Six of the last seven games will come against MAAC opponents before the Dolphins face defending-national champion Duke in the regular season finale.

- By Brian Bohl