JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two road games to end the regular season will ultimately decide the placement of the Jacksonville University men’s lacrosse team in the Atlantic Sun Tournament, but any chance of the Dolphins (2-7, 1-1 A-Sun) earning the No. 1 seed and hosting the championship rides on Saturday’s game against Mercer (6-4, 3-0 A-Sun). The final regular season home game for the Dolphins will be Senior Day for Tyler Black, Duncan Clancy, Will Crenshaw, Peter DeLuca, David Goldman, Mike McCredie and JP Ricker, and begins at 1 p.m. from D.B. Milne Field. Joshua Jackson and Brian Freshley will call the action on CW 17.
Flashing the form that made the team preseason favorites in the Atlantic Sun, Jacksonville outclassed VMI last Saturday, winning 14-5. Dakota Rohlin scored four of JU’s nine first half goals and was later named the Atlantic Sun Offensive Player of the Week, a first-time honor of the sophomore. He was far from alone. Ari Waffle scored at least three goals for the third time in his career against the Keydets and Goldman added a pair of goals as well. Four players – brothers Chase and Quint Miller, plus Rob and Tom Moore – all had at least two helpers.
Mercer played much of its conference schedule early on in the season, and have had three straight non-conference games prior to Saturday. Most recently, the Bears traveled to Colorado Springs and were taken down by Air Force, 19-6. The Falcons raced out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter of the game and were never threatened. Mercer has two of the most prolific scorers in the Atlantic Sun with Zack Ward (2.78 goals per game) and Chris Baxa (2.22 goals per game) on the attack. They’re helped along by Timmy Geran, who averages 2.22 assists per game. The Bears have the highest-scoring offense in the conference at 10.00 goals per game.
“This kind of game is why we’ve formed this conference,” said Head Coach Guy Van Arsdale. “Mercer and JU started programs at around the same time and are evolving in the same way. The things that are at stake in this game and the ramifications that it will have for the league are the reason that you play lacrosse.”
So let’s talk about those postseason implications. A win by JU would bring the Dolphins level with the Bears in the loss column, and the same would be true for the winner of High Point at Richmond, a game that starts at the same time on Saturday. However, a Mercer win could all but lock up home-field advantage for the Bears, as they would move to 4-0 in the conference with just a home game with Furman standing between them and an undefeated A-Sun season.
Next up for Jacksonville is a road trip to take on the Richmond Spiders on April 20 at 12:30 p.m.