May 24, 2008

NO. 1 LE MOYNE SEEKS ITS FOURTH NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP IN SUNDAY SHOWDOWN WITH NO. 2 NYIT

 

NCAA DIVISION II NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME NOTES

May 24, 2008

NO. 1 LE MOYNE SEEKS ITS FOURTH NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP IN SUNDAY SHOWDOWN WITH NO. 2 NYIT

FOXBORO, Mass. – When No. 1 Le Moyne meets No. 2 NYIT in Sunday’s National Championship, both squads will be chasing a fourth crown for their respective programs. Since 2003, only the Dolphins and the Bears have reached the pinnacle of Division II men’s lacrosse. Le Moyne took home the hardware in 2004, 2006 and 2007. NYIT captured its titles in 1997, 2003 and 2005.

The Dolphins, led by Northeast-10 Conference Co-Coach of the Year Dan Sheehan, have remained atop the USILA Division II National Rankings for the duration of the season. Le Moyne won its first 14 games of the year before dropping a 5-4 contest to then-No. 4 Bryant University in the Northeast-10 Conference Championship. The team’s entire non-conference schedule included nationally ranked opponents in Dowling, Mercyhurst and C.W. Post. And in 10 regular season victories against conference foes, the Dolphins smallest margin of victory was four.

Le Moyne sits in the Top 10 in every major team statistical category. The team’s scoring offense (13.13 goals per game) is third in the nation behind Limestone (15.43 goals per game) and NYIT (14.62 goals per game). On defense, the Dolphins allow half as many goals (3.19 goals per game) as the nation’s second-best defensive unit at Bryant (6.39 goals per game). Le Moyne also is tops in the country in man-down defense (six goals allowed in 54 opportunities) and scoring margin (9.94 goals).

Four seniors guide the Dolphins’ high-powered offensive attack. Brian Cost has sent in 40 goals on the campaign. Northeast-10 Conference Player of the Year Mike McDonald has been equally impressive in registering scores (29 goals) and handing out helpers (27 assists). Nick Gatto (21 goals) and Alex Bily (19 goals and 12 assists) sparked Le Moyne’s offensive success in the Northeast-10 Conference Playoffs and the National Semifinal contest against Bryant. Newcomer Jack Venditti (17 goals and 12 assists), second-year attacker Keith Vetter (nine goals and 10 assists) and junior Brain Welch (11 goals) assumed larger roles when needed. And for the third straight season, junior Brian Griffin controlled the face-off circle for the Dolphins (140-for-210).

Le Moyne’s defensive unit has yet to relent to an opponent’s offense. Fourteen times, an opponent has failed to score more than five goals in a game against the Dolphin defense. Northeast-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year Drew Bezek, a trio of juniors in Tim McLean, Marc Cizenski and Andrew Carducci and senior Mike Malone anchor the stellar unit. Junior Doug McIver has excelled between the pipes, starting all 16 games for Le Moyne en route to a nation-best 3.39 goals against average.

In addition to scoring the second-most goals per game in Division II, NYIT is the most effective team in the country with regards to man-up offense. The Bears have netted 33 goals on 65 opportunities, good for a .508 percentage. Also, according to computer rankings from LaxPower.com, NYIT’s strength of schedule is tops in the nation.

Only Adelphi, with seven national championships, has more Division II titles than Le Moyne and NYIT. The nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 teams meet Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. For complete ticket information, visit Le Moyne’s National Championship information site.

Michael Bersani – Sports Information Assistant