FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2011
Men’s lacrosse hits the road for must-win MAAC game against VMI on Sunday
Play Video
Facing a must-win situation, the JU men’s lacrosse team will look to keep its playoff hopes alive when it travels to Lexington, Va. to face VMI in the final regular season Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game of the season on Sunday at noon.

The Dolphins (4-8, 2-3) have lost its last three MAAC games by a combined four goals and sit in sixth place in the seven-team league. The top-four teams will qualify for the conference’s postseason tournament.

JU will face a VMI (2-9, 0-4) looking to play the spoiler role. The Keydets will be looking to snap a six-game losing streak and eliminate the Dolphins. Even with a win, JU will need help since the team does not hold tiebreakers against Siena, Marist or Manhattan.

“You have to take away the positives from those games since we played well in most aspects of the game,” said defenseman and co-captain Jake Ziegler. “It’s important for us to remain composed. They have good faceoff men. We want to use pressure and take them out of their comfort zone.”

For VMI, Drew Leonard (22 goals) and Keith Long (18 goals) have provided the bulk of the scoring, combining for 40 percent of the team’s total goal output. But VMI has also allowed 13 or more goals in each of its last four games.

Statistically, the Dolphins continue to sit in the upper echelon of the national rankings. JU is averaging 10.58 goals per game, placing it 16th for average scoring offense in Division I. Head coach Matt Kerwick’s team has also been aggressive on the other side of the ball, causing 123 turnovers (10.25 per game) that ranks fourth only behind Maryland, Yale and Detroit.

JU also continues to rocket up the national leaderboard in ground balls, moving past 10th-ranked Virginia for the highest per-game average in the country at 41.00. The Dolphins have 492 ground balls through 12, trailing Duke by 15 for the most total. The Blue Devils have played two more games than the Dolphins.

Freshman Rob Moore was named the MAAC “Rookie of the Week” for the second time this season after setting a career high with three goals and four points versus Marist. The midfielder won the award for the first time nearly a month earlier, making him the first JU player to be honored by the MAAC for an in-season award multiple times.

Max Gurowski continues to be one of JU’s best play-makers. The junior attackman has 23 points. Gurowski also has 18 assists, which is three more than the next closest teammate. Gurowski can also finish near the cage, 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 against Detroit, Manhattan, Siena and Marist, giving him points in 11 of the first 12 contests overall. The upperclassman is also climbing up the national assists charts, entering the weekend tied for 25 nationally in Division I by averaging 1.50 assists per game. Cameron Mann also cracked the top-50 after averaging 1.25 assists.

Stephen Spindler has become a strong force taking over a starting defensive spot with Corey Lovrich being out for the season. Spindler has climbed into the top-50 rankings in caused turnovers per game, forcing 1.36 to be tied for 44th.

Ziegler, Spindler and Tanner Gard have formed a solid starting defensive unit, holding teams to 10 goals or less in four of JU’s last six games. Ziegler said the defense—and the team overall— is dedicating their efforts to teammate and co-captain Corey Lovrich, who is out for the season as he undergoes treatment for Stage 3 colon cancer.

The men’s lacrosse team will be holding a fundraiser for the Corey Lovrich Medical Fund on Friday starting at 4:30 p.m. at the sand volleyball courts near John Sessions Stadium on the JU campus. The team will be selling t-shirts and wristbands and accepting donations with proceeds going to help the family cover medical costs. JU assistant coach Brad Hester’s band Annie in the Water will be performing before the Dolphins baseball team plays No. 18 Stetson at 6:30 p.m.

Ziegler will then throw out the ceremonial first pitch in Lovrich’s honor. During the game, members of the lacrosse team and the JU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will be available in the stadium to accept contributions for the fund. Fans can also make donations by mailing a check made out to Jacksonville University and Corey Lovrich Medical Fund in the memo line.

“It’s going to be a great atmosphere and we’re hoping the entire JU family and surrounding community comes out and shows their support,” Kerwick said. “No contribution is too small. We’re all just hoping to help Corey and his family any way we can.”

- By Brian Bohl