Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/28/23
From Press Release
SCHEDULE FOR TODAY’S NCAA FINALS:
Today at Lincoln Financial Field
NCAA Championships Games – Click here to purchase tickets
Lenoir-Rhyne vs. Mercyhurst, 1 p.m. on NCAA.com
Tufts vs. Salisbury, 4 p.m. on NCAA.com
Division II preview
It gets no bigger for a men’s lacrosse program to be playing on Memorial Day weekend in Philadelphia with a National Titile on the line. That is the stage the Lenoir-Rhyne men’s lacrosse team has put themselves on with a historic run in May. The Bears are the first five seed in the history of the NCAA Division II Tournament to make it to a National Championship game and look to finish of their story as road warriors with a win over Mercyhurst on Sunday afternoon.
After two epic Division I National Semifinal games that each went into overtime, the stage is set for the DII natty. Since the Selection Show that aired on Sunday, May 6, the Bears have piled up the road miles. Starting with a trip on Monday afternoon to Tampa, Fla. and culminating with the trip up north to Philly, the Bears have accumulated 1,913 miles traveled. However, LR has come out of the stretch unscathed and have used it as a rallying cry.
The Bears are no stranger to this moment as they are in a National Championship game for the second time in three years. LR fell to a perfect Le Moyne team in 2021 by a final of 12-6 but are more battle tested than any team in Division II. LR is set to compete in its 12th NCAA Tournament game, all since 2018, and graduate student Myles Moffat has played in 11 NCAA Tournament games by himself.
The game will serve as a homecoming of sorts for a quartet of LR players. Bryce Reece and Rob Pensabene grew up together in Mt. Laurel, NJ, just a quick 25 minute drive from Lincoln Financial Field. Brad Maslowski grew up in Magnolia, South NJ. and Kyle Hatcher also has some Philly roots.
The Bears have relied on Pensabene since a loss at home to Wingate. Pensabene had served as the backup goalie before that game but was thrust into the starting lineup and held the spot from that game on. He has responded with a 9-1 record and has stopped nearly 61 percent of the shots he has faced.
Standing in the way of LR capping a Cinderalla run as a 5-seed is the North’s number 2 seed Mercyhurst. A 2013 National Champ, Mercyhurst stunned the #1 seed in the North Le Moyne with a narrow 11-10 victory last Sunday. The Lakers have won back-to-back NCAA Tournament games by just one goal each. They rely on a goal-scoring duo of Myles Hamm and Ethan Landymore to account for 103 combined goals.
The Bears and Lakers each play lockdown defense. LR ranks fifth nationally in goals allowed per game, one spot behind Mercyhurst. The X-Factor in the game may be at the face off spot where Mercyhurst has the top face off percentage in the nation at over 70%.
The Bears are looking for just the second National Championship from a men’s team in the 102 year history of LR Athletics. Only the 1960 NAIA Football team brought home a National Championship. With a win on Sunday, the 2023 men’s lacrosse team can put themselves in the most elite of categories. To do so, they must roll through another top team in the nation in a game far away from campus.
Lenoir-Rhyne players from the region
MID 5’8″ 160 lbs 15 Bryce Reece Senior Mt. Laurel, N.J. Lenape HS 2023 stats: 19G, 14A
D 6’2″ 210 lbs 21 Kyle Mason Redshirt Senior Royersford, Pa. Spring-Ford HS
M 6’0″ 185 lbs 40 Brad Maslowski Freshman Magnolia, NJ Paul VI
G 6’5″ 205 lbs 52 Rob Pensabene Junior Mount Laurel, N.J. Lenape/Cabrini transfer 2023 stats: 16 G, 9-1 record, .609 save percentage
Division III preview:
The culmination of a season-long journey will take place on Sunday, May 28 as the second-ranked Salisbury University men’s lacrosse team battles the top-ranked Tufts Jumbos in the 2023 NCAA Division III Championship. The opening faceoff is set for 4 p.m. on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
HOW SALISBURY GOT HERE
The Sea Gulls clinched its 20th appearance in the NCAA Championship after four-straight battles in the NCAA Tournament. In its opening game against Colorado College, Salisbury cruised to an 18-10 win over the Tigers. Salisbury then outlasted a late push from seventh-ranked Amherst to collect a 14-10 win the NCAA Third Round.
In the quarterfinals, Salisbury fended off another late rally, this time from the ninth-ranked Washington & Lee Generals to secure a 12-9 win and set up another national semifinal matchup with Christopher Newport.
After a tight first half, the Sea Gulls pulled away from the Captains in the third quarter to pick up a 12-8 win and punched its ticket to Philly.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY IN PHILLY
The Sea Gulls will play in its 20th NCAA Championship on Sunday in hopes of capturing lucky number 13. The Sea Gulls last played in Philly in 2016 with a 14-13 win over Tufts for the 11th championship in program history. Salisbury has played in the national championship three times when its held in Philadelphia with a 2-1 record.
SEA GULLS TO WATCH
Cross Ferrara (Appoquinikink-DE) – The four-time All-American with three first-team selections enters the title game on a strong run in the tournament. The graduate attacker has scored three or more goals in each of the four tournament games and has totaled 21 points on 15 goals and six asissts. This season, Ferrara leads the nation with 85 goals and fourth in points with 118. Ferrara was recently selected 28th overall in the 2023 Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) by the Chrome Lacrosse Club.
Jude Brown – The Third-Team All-American enters the championship clash with 101 points. He ranks sixth in Division III with 65 assists. Brown has totaled 14 games with two or more assists, including a 10-assist performance against Cortland on March 18.
Isaac Thrasher – A member of the All-CLC First Team, Thrasher has totaled with 45 points on 33 goals and 12 assists. Thrasher picked up the CLC Offensive Player of the Week award on April 10 after a six-goal performance in the 18-8 win over then-No. 1 CNU.
Joe Carozza (WC East) – The first attacker off the bench and key for the Sea Gulls’ man-up offense, Carozza finished the season with 29 points on 25 goals and four assists. Carozza also earned the CLC Offensive Player of the Week award on April 17 after a career-high five-goal performance against Washington College.
PHILLY GRADS COMING HOME
GK 5’11” 185 lbs 2 Michael Clibanoff Senior Ambler, Pa. La Salle College
A/M 5’10” 190 lbs 7 Matthew Clibanoff Senior Ambler, Pa. La Salle College
M 5’11” 180 lbs 13 Bishop Barnes Sophomore Garnet Valley, Pa. Garnet Valley
A 6’2″ 200 lbs 22 Cross Ferrara Graduate Student Greenville, Del. Appoquinimink 2023 stats: 85 G, 33 A
A 5’10” 195 lbs 25 Joey Halloran Freshman Garnet Valley, Pa. Garnet Valley
A 5’9″ 250 lbs 36 Joe Carozza Junior West Chester, Pa. West Chester East 2023 stats: 25G, 4 A
M 6’1″ 190 lbs 54 Noah Spratt Junior Doylestown, Pa. Germantown Academy
FO 5’8″ 175 lbs 32 Chris TsetsekosHear Freshman Devon, PA The Haverford School 22/46 FO, 17 GB
TUFTS PLAYERS TO WATCH
The Jumbos bring a high-powered offense to its sixth national championship game.
Offensively, Tufts in led by the USILA Player of the Year and Attackman of the Year, attackman Jack Boyden. The senior from Ontario, Canada has racked up 154 points with 68 goals and 86 assists. Joining Boyden on the attack are seniors Kurt Bruun and Tommy Swank. Bruun posted 103 points on 57 goals and 46 assists while Swanks led the team in goals with 72 and added 21 assists.
On the defensive side, the trio of Kyle Adelmann, George Panagopoulos and Joey Waldbaum, pace the Jumbos. Adelmann, a second team All American selection, is second on the team in ground balls with 79 and leads the team in caused turnovers with 43. Waldbaum was a first-team all-conference and All-American selection has 76 ground balls and 42 caused turnovers. Panagopoulos have caused over 20 turnovers.
In goal, Conner Garzone will get the start in the cage. He posts a 56.3 save percentage with 224 stops and a 9.87 goals against average.
At the faceoff X will be All-American Mason Kohn, who won 71.2 percent of his faceoffs with 170 ground balls.