Men's Lax Headed To RPI For NCAA Game - Webcast Link Updated

May 13, 2010

Middlebury has advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and will travel to Rensselaer for a 2:00 p.m. game on Saturday, May 15th. The Panthers earned the right after a 10-6 win over Goucher in a first-round game played at home on May 12th. The game will be played in the East Campus Stadium, with tickets priced at $5 for adults and $3 for students.

The Panthers are 30-10 in NCAA play since they first qualified for the tourney in '96. Their .750 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 10 seasons, winning three straight NCAA crowns in '00, '01 and '02.

This season, Middlebury opened league play with back-to-back wins over Bates and Wesleyan before suffering back-to-back one-goal losses to Connecticut College (8-7) and Colby (9-8). Following a 14-6 victory over Amherst, the Panthers dropped their first contest to the Polar Bears since 2002 in an 11-6 loss on April 10. Middlebury went on to win six of its next eight contests, before falling 13-12 in the NESCAC Championship game. Three of Middlebury's five losses this season came by just one goal.

While the offense has struggled a bit in '10 (9.47 goals/game), the defense has remained stellar. The Panthers allow just 7.59 goals/game, while holding their opponent's to a .776 clear percentage. In net, junior goalkeeper Ryan Deane has played nearly every minute of every game, posting a 7.54 goals against average, a .619 save percentage, and a 12-5 record. Leading that defense this season have been senior Charlie Schopp and sophomore Matt Rayner (52 ground balls).

Offensively, senior Pete Smith leads the attackmen with 17 goals and a team-high 25 assists for 42 points on the season. He is also tops on the team with 64 ground balls and four man-up tallies in '10. Smith has recorded 17 points in his last five games. The squad's other top attackman has been sophomore Tim Cahill, who has found the back of the net 21 times this season, including 11 times in the last four games.

Junior David Hild leads the team in scoring after an eight-point weekend at the NESCAC Tourney. The middie owns a team-high 34 goals and 44 points to go along with his 10 assists. He also owns three game-winners and four man-up goals. Hild has earned 22 points in his last six games, including a 5-2-7 effort vs. Tufts in the NESCAC finals. Junior Andrew Conner is another top offensive middie, with 21 goals and five helpers this season.

Hild scored three goals, while Cahill added a pair in Middlebury's first-round win over Goucher on Wednesday. The Panthers never trailed in the game, outscoring the Gophers 6-2 in the second half to secure the win. Middlebury held a 44-28 shots advantage, won 15 of 19 face-offs, while Ryan Deane made 10 saves between the pipes.

This will be the 23rd all-time meeting between Middlebury and Rensselaer, with the Panthers holding a 15-7 series advantage. Middlebury has earned a win in each of the last five seasons, with an eight-game winning streak dating back to '71. The teams met earlier this season, with the Panthers coming away with a 10-5 win at RPI back on April 20th. Trailing by two goals in the third quarter, Middlebury went on a five-goal run to secure the victory.

Rensselaer is making its third NCAA appearance, earning the right after capturing the Liberty League title. The Engineers are 14-2 and ranked 15th nationally. RPI has one of the top defense's in the nation, allowing just 5.53 goals/game behind Liberty League rookie of the year, James Manchester (14-2, 5.44 GAA, .651 SV%).Offensively, the Engineers, who have won eight of their last nine games, average 10.57 goals per game. They feature four players who have at least 30 points, led by junior attack Nick Billy, who has 43 points on 26 goals and 17 assists. He is followed by senior midfielder Paul Cerone, who is first in assists (21) and second in points (35). The team's leading goal scorer is senior midfielder Bryant Johnson, who has 30 goals and four assists for 34 points. Senior attack Devin Arnold rounds out the group with 33 points (22 goals, 11 assists). 

2010 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament
First-Round, Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Middlebury 10, Goucher 6
Endicott 8, Montclair St. 6

Second-Round, Saturday, May 15, 2010
Middlebury (12-5) @ Rensselaer (13-5) - 2:00 p.m.
Endicott (14-7) @ Tufts (16-1) - 2:00 p.m.