Men's Lax To Host Mount Ida In NCAA Tourney Game - Listen Live

May 7, 2007

Middlebury will make its 10th consecutive and 11th overall appearance in the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Tournament this week. The Panthers will host Mt. Ida on Wednesday, May 9th at 4:30 p.m. on Kohn Field. Tickets are priced at $3 for adults and $2 for students. The winner of the game will advance to an NCAA second-round match-up at Wesleyan on Saturday, May 12th. You can hear the game live over the internet - LISTEN HERE -

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 25-7 in NCAA play since they first qualified for the tourney in '96. Their .781 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 26 goals and 11 assists for 37 points. Nick Bastis (23-12-35), Mike Stone (24-7-31), Skyler Hopkins (23-7-30) and Tom Petty (23-4-27) round out the leading scorers. Face-off man Peter Mellen has won over 64% of his battles, while the Middlebury defense allows just 6.9 goals/game this season. Alex Palmisano has played 97% of the minutes in goal this season, sporting a 6.89 GAA.

Mount Ida College of Newton, Massachusetts is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance after earning an automatic bid with an 11-10 over win over Castleton in the NAC Championship game. The Mustangs enter the tournament with a 13-3 record and have won 12 straight after opening the season at 1-3.

Brett Conley (40-22-62) leads the team in scoring, followed by John Lightbown (29-29-58), Leo Shidler (39-17-56) and Andrew Cloonan (27-25-52). In goal, Matt Vernik and Kyle Bowler have each seen significant time. Vernik has a 7.31 goals against average, while Bowler sports a 9.04 GAA.