Men's Lacrosse Heads To Wesleyan For NCAA Game - Watch LIVE
May 10, 2007
Middlebury is making its 10th consecutive and 11th overall appearance in the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Tournament, as they travel to Wesleyan for a second-round game on Saturday, May 12th at 1:00 p.m. The winner of the game advances to the quarterfinals to meet the winner of the Nazareth/Geneseo contest. WATCH THE GAME LIVE - it will be listed under "webcasts" on the right side of the page.
Middlebury and Wesleyan have developed quite a rivalry over the past five seasons, with several post-season meetings. The Panthers lead the all-time series 19-11-1 and have won 16 of the last 17 contests. Middlebury and Wesleyan have met in the last four NESCAC Championship games, with the Panthers emerging as the conference champions each time. The Cardinals have picked up the last two regular season wins, while Middlebury eliminated Wesleyan last season in the NCAA quarterfinals.
Middlebury advanced to the second-round after cruising past Mount Ida, 21-2 in a first-round contest on Kohn Field Wednesday. Mike Stone and Will Simpson each scored two goals in the game to lead the balanced scoring attack. The Panthers dominated in all categories, winning 20 of 27 on the afternoon. Peter Mellen won 17 of 22, to go along with his 13 ground balls. The Panthers out shot the Mustangs 61-19, held a 65-29 ground balls advantage, while holding them to 15 of 20 clears
Middlebury earned its way into the tournament with an automatic bid after an impressive 11-6 victory over Wesleyan in the NESCAC Championship game at Tufts. The NESCAC title was the seventh consecutive for the Middlebury, as they move to 15-0 all-time in NESCAC Tournament play. The Panthers are 26-7 in NCAA play since they first qualified for the tourney in '96. Their .788 NCAA winning percentage is higher than any other team currently competing in Division III lacrosse.
Middlebury has advanced to the NCAA title game in six of the last eight seasons, winning three straight NCAA crowns in '00, '01 and '02. First-year head coach Dave Campbell has the team playing well at the right time of the year. The '00 graduate of Middlebury enjoyed tremendous success with the Panther program as a player and later as an assistant coach. His teams went 52-10 while Campbell was a player, winning the ECAC championship during his rookie season. The team appeared in the NCAA tournament his sophomore year and advanced to the title game his junior year, before winning its first-ever NCAA championship during his senior season. Campbell returned to Middlebury in 2001 as an assistant coach, helping guide the team to its second consecutive NCAA crown.
Middlebury enters the tournament on a three-game winning streak after dropping four of its previous five games, three of those in overtime. The Panthers opened the season with four wins, including victories over Stevens, Springfield and Bowdoin before falling at W&L and Colby in double-overtime. Middlebury then won three of its next four games before going into a three-game skid with losses to top 10 teams Wesleyan and Tufts.
Middlebury came back strong in the NESCAC Tournament, entering as the sixth seed after hosting the previous six tournaments. Middlebury defeated #3 Trinity 16-4 on the road, before avenging a pair of regular season losses. The Panthers defeated Tufts 8-7 on their own field in the semifinals, before defeating Wesleyan for the fourth straight year in the NESCAC title game, 11-6.
Leading the offense this season has been Jim Cabrera with 28 goals and 11 assists for 39 points. Nick Bastis (25-12-37), Mike Stone (27-7-34), Skyler Hopkins (25-7-32) and Tom Petty (25-4-29) round out the leading scorers. Face-off man Peter Mellen has won over 65% of his battles, while the Middlebury defense allows just 6.61 goals/game this season. Alex Palmisano has played 97% of the minutes in goal this season, sporting a 6.66 GAA.
Wesleyan is making its third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance after earning an at-large bid. The Cardinals defeated Middlebury 5-4 in overtime in Vermont, before dropping the title game at Tufts by a score of 11-6 last Sunday.
Jason Ben-Eliyahu (33-18-51), Russ Follansbee (23-19-42), Mike Hines (22-13-35), Jon Killeen (22-12-34) and Grayson Connors (25-8-33) are the team's leading scorers. Charlie Congleton is 16-2 with a 5.59 GAA in goal.