Men's Lacrosse Headed To Cortland For NCAA Quarters

May 16, 2006

The Middlebury College men's lacrosse team will head to New York for an NCAA Quarterfinal game at Cortland on Wednesday, May 17th at 2:00 p.m. The winner of the game will take on the winner of the Geneseo/Wesleyan game in the semifinals on Sunday, May 21st. If victorious, the Panthers would host Wesleyan or travel to Geneseo for the semifinal contest.

Middlebury is making its ninth consecutive and 10th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Panthers advanced to the quarterfinals after a convincing 17-4 win over Springfield in the second-round last Saturday in Middlebury. Jim Cabrera had three goals in the game, while four other players added a pair. Henry Sheehan dished out five assists in the game, while Alex Palmisano made 11 saves in goal.

Middlebury earned its way into the tournament with an automatic bid after a dramatic 10-9 victory over Wesleyan in the NESCAC Championship game. The Panthers advanced to the title game with a 12-11 triple-overtime win over Tufts in the semifinals. The win was one of six one-goal wins (three in overtime) for Middlebury this season, while also dropping a one-goal contest at Springfield in late March. Middlebury has now hosted and won all six NESCAC Championship Tournaments.

The Panthers are 25-6 in NCAA play since they first qualified for the tourney in '96. Their .806 NCAA winning percentage is higher than any other team currently competing in Division III lacrosse.

Middlebury had advanced to the NCAA title game in six of the last seven years, winning three straight NCAA crowns in '00, '01 and '02. Head coach Erin Quinn is in his 15th and final season at the helm of the program, after being named the school's new Director of Athletics effective July 1st. He has a career record of 202-37, with an .845 winning percentage that is second among his peers in the history of Division III lacrosse.

This will be the second all-time meeting between Middlebury and Cortland, with the Panthers holding a 1-0 advantage. The two teams previously met in the '03 NCAA semifinals in Cortland, where the Panthers edged out a 9-8 overtime win.

Middlebury enters the contest on a 10-game winning streak, dating back to a 7-6 overtime win over Amherst on April 8th. The Panthers three losses this season are the most since the '98 squad finished at 11-4 on the year. The defense has been solid, allowing just 7.22 goals/game including a .804 effective man-down unit. The offense struggled early on in the season, but has come on strong of late, scoring 10 or more goals in eight of its last nine game.

Jim Cabrera has enjoyed a solid second season after earning NESCAC rookie of the year honors a year ago. He leads the team in goal scoring, despite missing the Springfield and Wesleyan games earlier this season, both Middlebury losses. The sophomore has 40 goals, seven man-up, to go along with four assists for 44 points on the season.

Henry Sheehan paces the team in assists with 30, to go along with his 16 goals for 46 points on the year. Nick Bastis (27-8-35), Aaron Herter (16-13-29), J.P. Coviello (19-9-28) and Travis Meyer (10-17-27) round out the leading scorers. In goal, Alex Palmisano has a 7.42 GAA with a 13-3 mark over 16 games this season.

Cortland enters the quarterfinals after a 16-7 win over Stevens Institute in the second round on Saturday. The Red Dragons earned their way into the tournament by defeating Geneseo 13-7 in the SUNAC finals. Leading the team in scoring are Matt O'Connell (31-28-59), Kyle Lambert (38-18-56) and Mike Abbott (33-9-42).

2006 NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Tournament

Quarterfinals, Wednesday, May 17th
Middlebury (13-3) @ Cortland (15-3) - 2:00 p.m.
Wesleyan (15-3) @ Geneseo (13-2) - 4:00 p.m.
Washington College (14-4) @ Salisbury (18-0) - 4:00 p.m.
Roanoke (13-2) @ Gettysburg (17-1) - 4:00 p.m.

Semifinals, Sunday, May 21st
Championship, Sunday, May 28th - Philadelphia, Pa.