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Preview: Merrimack and Seton Hill Meet Tonight in NCAA Semifinals

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – After a dominant showing in the quarterfinal round of the 2018 NCAA Division II Men’s Lacrosse Championship, the No. 2 Merrimack College men’s lacrosse team finds itself just one win away from a return trip to Gillette Stadium for the national title game. Standing in its way is third-ranked Seton Hill, which posted an equally impressive victory over perennial contender Le Moyne in the other North Region quarterfinal. The two sides will collide in the NCAA Semifinals on Sunday night at Martone-Mejail Field, with game time set for 7 p.m.

Parking & Tailgate Information
LOT N (accessible via Fenton Road behind the Ash Centre and located between Merrimack Stadium and Martone-Mejail Field) will be available for parking beginning at 4:30 p.m. Click here for Campus/Parking Map!
Live music and tailgating will be available in Lot N beginning at 5 p.m. Please note the following:

  • Tailgating activities will be prohibited once game starts
  • No cups are allowed inside Martone-Mejail Field
  • No charcoal grills/kegs are allowed in Lot N
  • Backpacks & large backs are subject to search prior to admission

Ticket Prices
Adults: $7
Children/Seniors: $5
Students w/ valid ID: $2
Note: Ticket sales are cash only.

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

2. Seton Hill vs. 3. Le Moyne

Semifinals
1. Merrimack vs. 2. Seton Hill

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

Semifinals
1. Lenoir-Rhyne vs. 2. Saint Leo

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.
  • 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.
  • The Warriors will be aiming to return to 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 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, including this season.
  • The Warriors will be playing only their third home game in the NCAA Championship in school history; the good news is Merrimack is a perfect 2-0 in those games, with those wins coming against NYIT last week (24-6) and 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, including a 10-5 win at second-seeded Le Moyne and a 17-9 thrashing at top-seeded Adelphi to secure the program’s first-ever trip to the national championship game.
  • The Warriors’ all-time record in the NCAA Tournament stands at 5-4, including 2-0 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) and NYIT (1-0).

Inside the Series:

  • Merrimack and Seton Hill have never met prior to this weekend.
  • In terms of common opponents, Merrimack and Seton Hill have three from this season.
  • The Griffins played NYIT earlier in the regular season and won that game by a 13-7 score; Merrimack was 2-0 against NYIT this season, winning its regular season opener (16-14) and last week’s NCAA Quarterfinal tilt (24-6).
  • Seton Hill also played – and won – against Lake Erie (18-14), a team Merrimack also defeated (16-11). The Griffins likewise played Le Moyne in the national quarterfinals and topped them by a 14-10 score; whereas, Le Moyne was the only team to defeat Merrimack in the regular season.

Last Time Out:

  • After holding just a two-goal lead at the end of the first quarter, the No. 2 Merrimack College men’s lacrosse team exploded for 14 goals in the second quarter while holding visiting and eighth-ranked NYIT scoreless, and that was all the Warriors would need en route to an eventual 24-6 blowout win over the Bears in the quarterfinal round of the 2018 NCAA Division II Men’s Lacrosse Championship. Freshman Christian Thomas had a historic afternoon that saw him finish with a career-high 10 points on the strength of six goals and four assists. He became the first player to record double-digit points in a game since former All-American Greg Melaugh ’13 did so in an 11-point output (9g, 2a) over Assumption on April 27, 2013. 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 six other schools that are on Merrimack’s schedule are also ranked in this week’s poll.
  • The Warriors have already played NYIT (ranked eighth when they played), LIU Post (12), Le Moyne (2) Pace (9), Adelphi (6/4) and Saint Anselm (17).

‘Mack Facts:

  • Merrimack (16-1, 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. They have won 12 straight games, a program record and a streak that only trails Seton Hill’s 16 straight wins on the national front.
  • The Warriors lead the NE10 and rank sixth nationally in scoring offense (14.88) and rank second and fourth, respectively, in scoring defense (7.29). The Warriors boast the ninth-best man-down defense in the country (79.7%) and 16th-best man-up offense (38.1%). The Warriors have held 14-of-17 opponents to single-digit goals. Merrimack has also held 14-of-17 opponents to single-digit goal totals this year.
  • Freshman Sean Black (85 points) leads all Warriors on the offensive front with 34 goals and 51 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 (5.00) ranks fifth.
  • Sophomore Charlie Bertrand, meanwhile, is the league leader in goals scored (55), ranking fifth nationally in goals per game (3.44).
  • Senior Blake Boudreau has won 258-of-376 on the X (.686) as Merrimack’s primary faceoff man, ranking eighth nationally and first in the NE10 in faceoff win percentage. He ranks seventh nationally and first in the NE10 averaging 9.24 ground balls per game.
  • Seniors James Bassett, reigning USILA Defensive Player of the Year, compliments classmate Eric Coburn and juniors Ryan Burke and Dan Cotnoir to form a formidable backline. All four have double-digit caused turnovers, with Coburn leading the way with 19.
  • In net, freshman Peter Brown has started 15 of the team’s 17 games and has been solid, posting a 6.52 goals against average (2nd/NE10) and .506 save percentage in that span.
  • Merrimack has won the last 28 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 15 straight games at home, tied for second with Seton Hill and 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 Seton Hill:

  • Seton Hill is the only team in the North Region with more overall wins (17) and a loner winning streak (16) than Merrimack, as the Griffins captured their second straight Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) title and earned the program’s second all-time NCAA Championship appearance.
  • The Griffins, whose lone loss is to the No. 1 seed in the South Region – Lenoir-Rhyne – went unblemished both in conference play (7-0) and at home (12-0) leading up to the weekend.
  • Seton Hill boasts some impressive statistical figures, including the top-ranked scoring offense in the country that averages 16.83 goals per game, as well as the fifth-ranked scoring defense that yields only 7.33 goals per game.
  • The Griffins also lead the country in clearing percentage (91.0), man-up offense (46.2) and scoring margin, winning by an average of 9.50 goals per game.
  • Jack Moran leads the Griffins in scoring, one point shy of the century mark with 57 tallies and 42 helpers for a 99-point total on the year. He is 36 points clear of the second-highest scorer, Logan Maloni, who has 63 points (26g, 37a), while John Hofseth is also over 50 points (40g, 18a, 58pts) and leads the team with 10 man-up goals.
  • Jay Scerbo is one of the top-10 faceoff men in the country, winning 69.4 percent of his draws with 313 wins on 451 attempts. He also has 179 ground balls and ranks fifth nationally in ground balls per game.
  • Defensively, Brett Craig is among the nation’s elite, causing 2.22 turnovers per game (6th/NCAA) with 41 total disruptions on the year. Joe Cillo is next on that list with 28.
  • Max Eismann has started all but one game for Seton Hill, going 17-1 with a 7.32 goals against average and .570 save percentage.

Mike McMahon is in his 12th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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2018-19 Men’s Hockey Schedule

October
5 - vs. Lake Superior State (7pm)
6 - vs. Lake Superior State (7pm)
27 - vs. UMass (Homecoming) (7pm)

December
28 - vs. Denver (7pm)
31 - vs. Colorado College (4pm)

February
22 - @ UMass Lowell
23 - vs. UMass Lowell

Date Undetermined
TBD - @ Bentley
TBD - vs. Holy Cross

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