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NCAA playoffs: No. 16 @CabriniMLAX hosts No. 13 @UrsinusMLAX tonight in classic Philly D3 battle

Wednesday, 6th May 2015

Categories Uncategorized, Posted 5/6/15
From Press Releases

The No. 16 Cabrini men’s lacrosse team will make its 14th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament tonight at 7 p.m., as it welcomes No. 13 Ursinus College to Edith Robb Dixon Field for a First Round tilt.

Tickets for the game will go on sale this evening at 6 p.m. at the main entrance to Edith Robb Dixon Field. Adult tickets will cost $6, while tickets for seniors, students with ID and children will cost $3. Children age two and under will be free.

While the Cabrini and Ursinus have scrimmaged over the last several years, tonight will mark the first regular season or postseason meeting between the two teams.

For the ninth consecutive season, the Blue and White will open its postseason run on its home turf. A victory tonight would send the Cavaliers to the tournament’s second round for the 10th consecutive year and 12th time in its 14 appearances.

Cabrini qualified for the NCAA Tournament with an automatic bid as champions of the Colonial States Athletic Conference. The Cavaliers improved to 13-5 as they raised their 15th consecutive league championship banner on Saturday with an 18-6 victory over Marywood.

The Cavaliers enter the postseason as one of the nation’s top offensive and defensive clubs. The Blue and White’s 13.78 goals per game make it the 15th best scoring offense in the country, while it surrenders just 6.11 goals per outing, seventh in Division III.

In total, the Cavaliers rank in the nation’s top 35 in 12 NCAA statistical categories, including second in turnovers (13.83), sixth in scoring margin (7.67), 17th in assists per game (8.22) and 15th in points per game (22.0).

Mike Leyden (Haverford High) leads a balanced attack that features six players with at least 30 points and 20 goals. The senior tops the Blue and White scoring ledger with 59 points on 36 goals and 23 assists, while his 48 ground balls are second on the team.

Classmate Tyler Johnston’s (Ridley) 21 assists and 42 points rank second on the club, while his 21 goals are tied for fifth. Ethan Heisman (Henderson) has paired 24 goals and 15 assists for 39 points, while Damian Sobieski’s (Avon Grove) 26 goals are good for second and his 34 points good for fourth.

Anthony DiNenno (Avon Grove) sparks the Cabrini offense, as the senior wins over 62% of his faceoffs, 35th in the country, and has secured 81 ground balls on the season. As a team, the Cavaliers boast a .722 faceoff winning percentage, good for 31st in Division III.

Tyler Morrell (Episcopal Academy) has been stellar between the Blue and White pipes, starting 17 of the team’s 18 games. The rookie boasts a 6.69 goals against average, 16th in the country. Morrell has 135 save son the year and surrendered just two or less goals in seven of his last 10 outings.

Morrell is protected by a formidable quartet of defenders, including Patrick Nolan (Plymouth Whitemarsh), Ryan Kittredge, junior Dan Hopson (Interboro) and CSAC Rookie of the Year Joey Hoey (Springfield-Delco). As a group, they have caused 60 turnovers and secured 96 ground balls.

The Ursinus Bears will make their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance tonight, as the club earned one of eight at large tournament bids. The Bears’ bid for their first Centennial Conference championship fell short on Saturday, as Ursinus fell to 13-3 with their 11-10 loss at No. 2 Gettysburg in the title game.

The game was the second match-up between the two during the season, with the Bullets taking the regular season meeting with a tightly contested 9-7 victory. Saturday’s title game was just as tight.

Gettysburg netted the first three goals of the second quarter to build an 8-3 cushion but senior Ian Moore and freshman Gerard Brown scored in the final minutes of the half to cut the deficit to 8-5 at the break.

The Bears outscored the Bullets 3-1 in the third to pull within 9-8 with 15 minutes to play. After falling behind by three goals again in the final quarter, senior Steve Smyrl (Garnet Valley) and junior Logan Panaccione pulled Ursinus back to 11-10 with just over four minutes to play. Ursinus had three shots in the final minutes, but one attempt was saved and another hit a post.

Panaccione scored two goals to lead nine goal scorers in the loss, while Brown and senior Jake Weber paired a goal and an assist each. Sophomore Zach Jones earned team high honors with five ground balls, one more than a trio of Bears. Jones and senior Cody Lefevre also caused two turnovers each.

Junior goaltender Brian Neff suffered the loss, despite recording 11 saves.

Like the Cavaliers, the Bears sport a dominating defense, allowing just 6.25 goals per game, 10th in Division III. When Ursinus gets the ball, they waste little time putting the ball back in its offensive zone, as it clears the ball as a 0.883 clip.

Neff is the backbone of the Bears’ defensive effort, as the junior’s 6.18 goals against average and 0.64 save percentage rank eighth in the country.

Defenseman Ryan Ridinger anchors the Ursinus defense, as the senior was named Centennial Conference Defensive Player of the Year after pairing 17 caused turnovers and 27 ground balls. Fellow senior Lefevre has also been an important defensive cog, posting 18 caused turnovers and 19 ground balls.

Weber and classmate Mark Stratton (Manheim Township) pace the Ursinus offensive attack, combining for 91 of the team’s 257 points on the season. Weber leads the way with 29 goals and 17 assists, while Stratton has recorded 26 goals and 19 helpers.

Four other players have tallied at least 20 points on the season, including Smyrl with 27 points on 15 goals and 12 assists and junior Steve Mussoline, who adds 13 goals and 11 assists.

Junior James Fairchild (Malvern Prep) has been the club’s top faceoff specialist all season, winning just north of 60% of his faceoffs on the year.

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