Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/2/15
From Press Release
Eastern University Men’s Lacrosse claimed its fourth Freedom Conference Championship in a row with a 22-7 rout of the Misericordia University Cougars on Saturday. With the win, the Eagles earned the automatic qualifying bid into the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles, ranked No. 20 in the nation, will join 31 of the nation’s top teams in the first round of the tournament on Wednesday.
This is the first time the Freedom Conference has had an NCAA automatic bid. Two years ago, the Eagles defeated Misericordia in a very similar championship game (22-6) but ended up not receiving an invite to the NCAA Tournament.
This year, the season continues thanks to an offensive onslaught. The Eagles fired off 60 shots compared to the Cougars’ 26. Midfielder Desmond Decker and senior attackman Grant Ferguson carried out five-goal rampages. Ferguson, who now has 49 goals on the season, earned the Championship Most Outstanding Player award.
Senior Eric Waibel (Avon Grove) scored a hat-trick for the seventh time this season and Bryan Goetz added two goals. Seniors Andrew Travers, Kyle Gillam (Sun Valley), Cody Ridgway (Methacton) and David Darling all scored once, sophomore Tim Lamb added a goal and so did freshmen David Hipp and Jake Billera. Darling dealt out five assists and became the first Eastern player to ever reach 100 assists in his career. The amazing thing about that is that Darling only had eight total assists his first two seasons.
The Eagles out-hustled the Cougars in the groundball category 51-23 and dominated the faceoff category 21-10. Eastern’s faceoff specialists Matt Lee (Cherry Hill East) and Joe Palo (Hatboro-Horsham) wore down their opponent in the second and fourth quarters, going 9-for-11 and 6-for-7 in those periods, respectively.
Misericordia’s Pat Kellish scored a team-high four goals.
Eastern scored the game’s opening goal as Grant Ferguson caught a pass from Jake Billera and scooped it home in one motion.
Misericordia matched Eastern’s goal nine seconds later, setting up a fastbreak off the faceoff. Eastern created some space with five straight goals, including three in-a-row for Decker.
Down 7-1 with five minutes left in the second quarter, the Cougars clawed back with a quick hat trick by Kellish over the next three minutes. With the score a little too close for comfort, Eastern posted three goals in the final two minutes of the half to go into the locker room up 10-4.
Eastern poured it on in the second half, out-scoring Misericordia 12-3. The Cougars goalies saved 20 shots combined, but could not withstand the utter barrage of shots that came their way.
Eastern also capitalized on Misericordia pentalities, scoring man-up goals on 5-of-8 chances, four in the second half.
The Eagles (15-3) will find out on Sunday night at 9 p.m. who their first round matchup is in the NCAA Tournament. Click here to watch the selection show.