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Game Preview: Merrimack Faces Saint Leo in National Championship

Photo: @MerrimackMLAX

A year ago, the Merrimack College men’s lacrosse program made history when it reached the national championship final for the first time, but ultimately fell short of its ultimate goal. Nearly one year to the day, the program – after a 13-1 record in the regular season, its third Northeast-10 Conference title and back-to-back impressive wins in the national tournament – will have an opportunity for redemption that not many others have gotten; the second-ranked Warriors will look to avenge last year’s loss and complete a run to their first national title when they take on sixth-ranked Saint Leo in the 2018 NCAA Division II Men’s Lacrosse Championship at Gillette Stadium. Game time is set for 4 p.m.

Related: Click here to read all of our coverage of Merrimack at the 2018 NCAA Division II Men’s Lacrosse National Championship

2018 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship
North Region – Quarterfinals
1. Merrimack def. 4. NYIT (24-6)

2. Seton Hill def. 3. Le Moyne (14-10)

1. Merrimack def. 2. Seton Hill (16-9)

South Region – Quarterfinals
1. Lenoir-Rhyne def. 4. Colorado Mesa (14-12)
2. Saint Leo def. 3 Tampa (12-11/OT)

2. Saint Leo def. 1. Lenoir-Rhyne (12-11)

1. Merrimack vs. 2. Saint Leo


Ticket Prices
Adults: $20 Fees
Students w/ valid ID: $10 (On-site only)

All tickets are $20 (plus fees) and can be purchased online through the NCAA, by calling (800) 543-1776, by emailing or in person on game day at the Gillette Stadium Box Office. The Gillette Stadium Box Office is located in the NRG Plaza directly across from the ProShop. All tickets are general admission – there is no assigned seatingThere are no complimentary tickets availableTickets are not available for purchase through Merrimack College.

Your ticket is valid for both games being played on Sunday, beginning with the NCAA Division III Championship at 1 p.m.

STUDENT TICKET INFORMATION: Student tickets will ONLY be sold at Gillette Stadium on game days. Cost is $10. Students MUST have their college ID to show at the ticket office and when entering the stadium. Students will only be able to purchase one ticket with their ID.


Seats will be clearly sectioned off behind the Merrimack bench (closest to Sections 106-108) on the East Side of the stadium on game day. Click here to see the Gillette Stadium seating chart!


Parking is included in the ticket price; no additional parking fees will be charged. There are no assigned parking spots. The Office of Development and Alumni Relations will sponsor a pregame tailgate located in or near Parking Lot 3 with giveaways, music and refreshments. T-shirts will also be available for purchase for just $5. Merrimack fans are encouraged to park in or as close to Lot 3 as possible knowing that parking is general admission and spots are not assigned/reserved. From Route 1, enter Gillette Stadium at entrance P1 and look for signs for Lot 3!

Merrimack College fans are encouraged to arrive early and park together in advance of the Championship game. We encourage alumni, parents and fans to pack your favorite tailgating foods & drinks and then keep an eye out for Merrimack College signage to celebrate with your fellow Warriors prior to the game!

For a map of all available parking locations, click here.


Merrimack in the NCAA Championship

  • Merrimack is back in the national tournament for a program-record fourth straight season and fifth time overall in program history; the previous four occasions were in 2009, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
  • The Warriors are back in the NCAA Championship Final for the second straight year after making their first appearance in the title game last May at Gillette Stadium. They came within two goals of winning it all before falling to eventual champion Limestone, 11-9.
  • Merrimack earned its first-ever postseason No. 1 seed in school history after finishing the regular season with a 15-1 record and its third Northeast-10 Conference Championship, which it won over Saint Anselm (11-7) after dispatching Adelphi (17-11) in the league tournament’s semifinals.
  • Merrimack has reached the semifinal round of the national tournament in every one of the five years it has qualified; in 2009, there was only a four-team field, hence the Warriors earning a berth straight to the semifinals, but Merrimack has won at least one game in the other four years it has reached the national tournament and has won at least two NCAA Tournament games in each of the last two seasons.
  • The Warriors now stand at 3-0 all-time at home in the NCAA Championship after a pair of wins over the last two weekends; Merrimack topped NYIT (24-6) and Seton Hill (16-9) this year, wihle its other home win in the NCAA Tournament was against LIU Post in the 2016 quarterfinals (15-13).
  • Last year, Merrimack secured a pair of road wins over league rivals to reach the national championship game for the first time, including a 10-5 win at second-seeded Le Moyne and a 17-9 thrashing at top-seeded Adelphi.
  • The Warriors’ all-time record in the NCAA Tournament stands at 6-4, including 3-0 at home and 3-3 on the road, as well as 0-1 at a neutral site (Gillette Stadium – 2017).
  • Merrimack’s most frequent NCAA Tournament opponent is Le Moyne (1-3), followed by Adelphi (2-0), LIU Post (1-0), Limestone (0-1), NYIT (1-0) and Seton Hill (1-0).

Inside the Series:

  • Merrimack and Saint Leo have met just twice all-time, but this will be both schools’ first meeting in the NCAA Championship and their first meeting overall in eight years.
  • Both of the prior two games were played at Saint Leo; Merrimack won by a 21-7 score in 2006, but the Lions edged the Warriors in the most recent matchup by a 12-11 score on March 13, 2010.
  • In terms of common opponents, Merrimack and Saint Leo have just one from this season.
  • The Warriors and Lions both played NYIT at least once. Saint Leo won its matchup by an 18-10 score, while Merrimack was 2-0 against NYIT this season, winning its regular season opener (16-14) and its NCAA Quarterfinal tilt (24-6).

Last Time Out:

  • The No. 2 Merrimack College men’s lacrosse team is headed back to Gillette Stadium for a chance to win its first national title after a victory over third-ranked Seton Hill in the semifinal round of the 2018 NCAA Division II Men’s Lacrosse Championship. The Warriors erased an early two-goal deficit, outscored the visitors by an 8-4 margin in the second and third quarters and then held off the Griffins in the fourth to earn their second straight trip to the finals. As they have all year, it was freshman Sean Black and sophomore Charlie Bertrand leading the charge on the offensive front, scoring six of Merrimack’s 16 goals combined while combining for 11 points, while senior Blake Boudreau was 17-of-28 on the draw (60.7). Click here for full recap.

Poll Watch:

  • Merrimack finished the regular season ranked No. 2 in the USILA Coaches’ Poll. It was No. 1 during a four-week span and has been no lower than second all year.
  • As is usually the case, the Warriors have faced plenty of the nation’s top programs this year, as eight other schools that are on Merrimack’s schedule are also ranked in the final poll.
  • The Warriors have already played NYIT (ranked eighth when they played), LIU Post (12), Le Moyne (2) Pace (9), Adelphi (6/4) Saint Anselm (17), Seton Hill (3) and are yet to play Saint Leo (6).

‘Mack Facts:

  • Merrimack (17-1, 10-1 NE10) has already set a new program record for wins in a single season and is in its fourth straight NCAA Championship, where it has reached at least the semifinal round each time, and is back in the national title game for the second year in a row.
  • They have won 13 straight games, a program record and the longest active win streak in the nation.
  • The Warriors lead the NE10 and rank sixth nationally in scoring offense (14.94) and rank second and fourth, respectively, in scoring defense (7.39). The Warriors boast the sixth-best man-down defense in the country (81.0%) and 16th-best man-up offense (38.2%). The Warriors have held 15-of-18 opponents to single-digit goals.
  • Freshman Sean Black (91 points) leads all Warriors on the offensive front with 37 goals and 54 assists. He ranks first in the league in overall scoring and assists. His 3.00 assists per game figure ranks second nationally and scoring average (5.06) ranks fifth.
  • Sophomore Charlie Bertrand, meanwhile, is the league leader in goals scored (58), ranking fifth nationally in goals per game (3.41). He tied his freshman year career-high with 75 points (58g, 17a). Rookie Christian Thomas is over 70 points as well with 32 tallies and 38 helpers.
  • Senior Blake Boudreau has won 275-of-404 on the X (.681) as Merrimack’s primary faceoff man, ranking seventh nationally and first in the NE10 in faceoff win percentage. He ranks seventh nationally and first in the NE10 averaging 9.17 ground balls per game, as well.
  • Seniors James Bassett, reigning USILA Defensive Player of the Year, compliments classmate Eric Coburn and juniors Ryan Burke and Dan Cotnoirto form a formidable backline. All four have double-digit caused turnovers, with Coburn leading the way with 20.
  • In net, freshman Peter Brown has started 16 of the team’s 18 games and has been solid, posting a 6.71 goals against average (2nd/NE10, 3rd/NCAA) and .497 save percentage in that span.
  • Merrimack has won the last 29 games it has scored 10 or more goals in; its last loss when posting a double-digit scoring total was in double overtime against Le Moyne (12-11) on March 18, 2017.
  • Merrimack also has won 16 straight games at home, trailing only Colorado Mesa’s 20 straight home wins. The last time the Warriors lost a game at home was that aforementioned Le Moyne loss on March 18, 2017.

Scouting Saint Leo:

  • Saint Leo punched its first-ever ticket to the national title game with a pair of 12-11 wins in the earlier two rounds of the NCAA Championship.
  • As the No. 2 seed in the South Region, the Lions edged third-seeded Tampa in a 12-11 overtime thriller in the quarterfinal round before taking down top-seeded Lenoir-Rhyne by an identical score – this time in regulation – to reach the finals for the first time.
  • Saint Leo went 7-0 in the Sunshine State Conference during the regular season but lost to Tampa by an 8-6 score in the league tournament’s title game.
  • Saint Leo averages 14.06 goals per game offensively, the top-ranked offense in the SSC and ninth-highest scoring average in the country; on the other end, the Lions yield 9.22 goals per game (3rd/SSC, 23rd/NCAA). Saint Leo’s man-up offense converts at a 39.3-percent slip (2nd/12th) while its man-down defense is successful on 70.1-percent of tries (3rd/31st).
  • Jake Gilmour leads the Saint Leo offense with 75 points (36g, 39a), while Kyle Pauwels is closed behind with 71 points (54g, 17a). Charlie Kurtenbach ranks third with 68 points (39g, 29a).
  • Jordan Williams, the starting faceoff specialist for the Lions, has won 156-of-343 faceoffs (.455) and has picked up 62 ground balls. Two Lions have over 20 caused turnovers in the form of Ethan Ticehurst’s 25 disruptions, while Jake Bye has 23 takeaways.
  • In goal, Thomas Tatarian enters the championship game with a 9.24 goals allowed average to compliment a sparkling .604 save percentage that ranks fourth nationally. He has started all 18 games in net.
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