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NCAA Division III preview: Cabrini and Amherst making first appearance in final

Sunday, 26th May 2019

Categories Boy's/Men's, College  
 

Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/26/19
From Press Release

2019 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament Championship
No. 6 Cabrini University Cavaliers (21-2) vs. No. 7 Amherst College Mammoths (18-3)
Sunday, May 26, 4pm
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
Tickets

Individual tickets for Sunday’s championship game cost $20 and are general admission with no assigned seats. Three day passes can also be purchased, as well as single day tickets.

What’s At Stake?
The winner of Sunday’s championship game will claim the first NCAA championship in the history of the program. Both Cabrini and Amherst are making their first ever appearance in the NCAA title game.

Amherst’s Evan Wolf (left), Cabrini’s Riley White

The Cavaliers avenged both of its regular season losses en route to Sunday’s title game, as Cabrini topped York and Salisbury. The Blue and White’s 11-10 overtime victory at York snapped a string of four consecutive quarterfinal round losses.

Last Sunday, Cabrini upset No. 2 Salisbury 16-13, securing its first appearance in the championship round. The win marked the first over the Sea Gulls in the program’s six postseason meetings.

Amherst is making its seventh NCAA Tournament appearance and sixth in a row. The Mammoths scored a 13-11 victory over conference rival Tufts in the team’s first quarterfinal appearance since 2016. Amherst avenged its NESCAC tournament loss to No. 5 Williams, as its 12-8 win secured its place in Sunday’s title game.

How Cabrini Got Here
The Cavaliers rank as one of the nation’s top two way-teams, as the club boasts the nation’s 11th ranked offense and fifth ranked scoring defense. The team also ranks in the nation’s top 25 in 14 NCAA statistical categories, with top 10 rankings in eight categories, including scoring margin, man-up offense, man-down defense, turnovers and ground balls.

The Blue and White rides the strength of a balanced offensive attack that features four players with at least 40 goals and six with at least 40 points. Senior Jordan Krug (Cherokee), the program’s all-time points leader, leads the unit with 108 points on the season. His 73 goals are tied with Damian Sobieski for the program’s single season mark, while his 231 career markers are two shy of short Reimer’s career record.

Sophomore Kyle Tucker and senior Bill Morgan (Marple Newtown) have marked the scoring column 47 and 40 times, respectively, while junior Jakob Klein (Wilson) tops the table with 46 assists, while his 80 points are second on the team.

Senior goaltender Riley White (Plymouth Whitemarsh) mans the Cabrini pipes with 6.62 goals against average, fourth in Division III. The senior has posted 171 saves on the season and sports a .572 save percentage.

Atlantic East Defensive Player of the Year Tommy DeLuca anchors a stingy defensive unit that caused 12.52 turnovers per game, 19thin the country. The junior’s 2.61 caused turnovers per game rank 23rd in Division III, while seniors Sean Wagner and Nick Vass join junior Kyle Myers with at least 20 caused turnovers on the season.

Sophomore faceoff specialist Luke McCallion (Haverford High) sparks the Cabrini attack, as the team owns a .578 win percentage at the X. McCallion has won more than 200 draws on the season with a team-leading 93 ground balls, while freshman Jake Huey (Marple Newtown) sports a .667 win percentage.

How Amherst Got Here
Winners of four in a row and seven of its last eight games, Amherst brings a high powered offensive attack into Saturday’s championship game. The Mammoths score 17.81 goals per game, ranking fifth in Division III. The club also lists among the nation’s leaders in points and assists, while its man-up unit converts at a .508 clip, fourth in the country.

Amherst is led by 2019 Iroquois National Outstanding Player of the Year Evan Wolf (Lower Merion). The junior has netted 73 scores and added 42 helpers for 115 total points. The only Division III student-athlete to earn a spot on the prestigious Tewaaraton Watch List, Wolf ranks 12th in the nation in points per game (5.48) and 24th in the country in goals per game (3.48).

The trio of juniors Colin Minicus, Matt Solberg and Jon Coffey, along with Wolf, have combined to score 334 of the team’s 609 points and more than 56% of its goals on the season.

Jimmy McAfee (Germantown Academy) is a First Team All-American and was named the top short-stick midfielder. He has 62 groundballs.

Netminder Gib Versfeld (Hun School) has controlled the Amherst crease in each of the team’s last six games, leadings its NCAA tournament run. The sophomore has allowed just 10 goals per game over a stretch that has include games with 18, 19 and 20 save efforts.

The Mammoth’s defensive effort includes 10 players who have caused at least 10 turnovers on the season. Junior Rod Castro (Radnor) leads the way with 37 forced miscues and 44 ground balls, while sophomore James Crovatto has forces 31 caused turnovers and scored six goals.

Freshman Juan Gonzalez and junior Dylan Finazzo manned the X for the majority of Amherst’s draw this season. The rookie sports a .547 win percentage and leads the club with 88 ground balls, while Finazzo have won .600 of his 185 chances.

Cabrini Last Time Out: No. 6 Cabrini 16, No. 2 Salisbury 13 (5/19/2019, Salisbury, MD)

The Cavaliers secured their first championship appearance with dominant performances in the first and fourth quarters, as Cabrini scored its first postseason win over Salisbury.

Cabrini ran out to a 6-2 first quarter lead before the Sea Gulls rallied in the second. The home team turned the tables in the second period, outscoring the Cavaliers 7-2, taking a 9-8 lead at the half. The game remained tight through the third quarter, as the game went to the fourth tied at 11.

Both teams scored early in the fourth, but with the score tied at 12 with 12 minutes to play, the Cavaliers took over. At the 11:17 mark, junior Tyler Kostack gave Cabrini a lead it would not relinquish. Klein and Krug pushed the scoring run to three, as the Blue and White built a 15-12 cushion with 5:16 on the clock.

In the fourth quarter alone, the Cavaliers outshot Salisbury 10-3 and pressured the Sea Gulls into seven of its 18 turnovers.

Krug paced the Blue and White with a career high seven goals on just eight shots in the win. Kostack, Klein and classmate Mike Gerzabek joined Tucker with two goals each.

Senior Sean Wagner paired four caused turnovers and three ground balls, while junior Robert Cressman (Berks Catholic) and DeLuca caused two each and combined for seven ground balls.

McCallion went 12-30 at the faceoff spot on the day, including four in the decisive fourth quarter, and secured six ground balls. White anchored the Blue and White defensive effort with nine saves, claiming his 42nd career win.

Amherst Last Time Out: No. 7 Amherst 12, No. 5 Williams 8 (5/19/2019, Williamstown, MA)
Amherst avenged the third of its regular season losses with Sunday’s semifinal victory over the Ephs. With its win over No. 3 Tufts in the quarterfinal round, the Mammoths avenged its losses in just five days.

The Mammoths dominated the opening 15 minutes of play, building a 4-0 cushion with 6:19 left in the first quarter. Williams climbed back into the game in the second quarter and outscored Amherst 4-1 in the third to build an 8-7 lead with 15 minutes to play.

Jon Coffey evened the score in the first minute of the final stanza and the Mammoths never looked back, scoring five fourth quarter goals on just 11 shots to put the game away.

Colin Minicus led the Mammoths with three goals and two helpers, while Matt Solberg joined Coffey with two goals in the win. Luke Mallette caused three turnovers, with Jimmy McAfee and Dylan Finazzo combining for 13 ground balls. Gib Versfeld recorded eight saves in the victory.

TALE OF THE TAPE
No. 6 Cabrini No. 7 Amherst
21-2, 6-0 Atlantic East Record 18-3, 8-2 NESCAC
389 Goals 374
225 Assists 235
1,194 Shots 1,077
916 Ground Balls 878
.463 Man-Up Percentage .508
.578 Faceoff Percentage .536
.866 Clear Percentage .796
.580 Save Percentage .570

TEAM LEADERS
Jordan Krug (73) Goals Evan Wolf (73)
Jakob Klein (46) Assists Colin Minicus (48)
Jordan Krug (108) Points Evan Wolf (115)
Luke McCallion (93) Ground Balls Juan Gonzalez (88)
Tommy DeLuca (60) Caused Turnovers Rod Castro (37)
Luke McCallion (.573) Faceoff Percentage Juan Gonzalez (.547)
Riley White (.572) Save Percentage Gib Verfeld (.569)

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