Men's Lacrosse To Host Springfield In NCAA Tournament Game
May 10, 2006
Middlebury will make its ninth consecutive and 10th overall appearance in the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Tournament this weekend. The Panthers will host Springfield on Saturday, May 13th at 1:00 p.m. on Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium. The winner of the game will advance to an NCAA quarterfinal match-up on Wednesday, May 17th with the site and opponent to be determined.
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 24-6 in NCAA play since they first qualified for the tourney in '96. Their .800 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 201-37, with an .845 winning percentage that is second among his peers in the history of Division III lacrosse.
This will be the 33rd all-time meeting between Middlebury and Springfield, with the Panthers holding a 22-10 all-time advantage. Middlebury had won five straight meetings until the Pride handed them an 11-10 loss back on March 29th in Massachusetts. The teams have met once in NCAA play, with Middlebury earning an 11-9 win in an '03 NCAA first-round game in Vermont.
Middlebury enters the contest on a nine-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 7.43 goals/game including a .795 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 seven of its last eight games.
Jim Cabrera has enjoyed a solid second season after earning NESCAC rookie of the year honors a year ago. He leads the team in scoring, despite missing the Springfield and Wesleyan games earlier this season, both Middlebury losses. The sophomore has 37 goals, seven man-up, to go along with four assists for 41 points on the season.
Henry Sheehan paces the team in assists with 24, to go along with his 15 goals for 39 points on the year. Nick Bastis (25-8-33), Aaron Herter (14-12-26), Travis Meyer (9-16-25) and J.P. Coviello (18-6-24) round out the leading scorers. In goal, Alex Palmisano has a 7.42 GAA with a 12-2 mark over 15 games this season.
Springfield earned an NCAA Tournament bid after a 12-11 double-overtime win over W. New England for its fourth straight Pilgrim League Championship. The Pride enter the game with an eight-game winning streak, with losses to Nazareth, Cortland State, Bowdoin and W.N.E.C. on the season.
2006 NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Tournament
Second Round, Saturday, May 13th - Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium
Springfield (13-4) @ Middlebury (12-3) - 1:00 p.m.