Preview: Merrimack Men’s Lacrosse Battles Limestone In National Championship Game
Exactly four months separated from its first scrimmage of the season, the fourth-ranked Merrimack College men’s lacrosse team’s historic 2017 campaign will come to a close this Sunday (May 28) in the NCAA Division II Men’s Lacrosse Championship Final, as the Warriors – who are making their first-ever appearance in the title game – take on top-ranked Limestone College with the program’s first national championship at stake. Game time from Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, is set for 2 p.m.
2017 NCAA Tournament Men’s Lacrosse Championship Schedule
Saturday, May 13th – Quarterfinals
North Region Semifinal #1: #3 Merrimack at #2 Le Moyne (12 p.m.)
North Region Semifinal #2: #1 Adelphi def. #4 Pace, 10-9
South Region Semifinal #1: #1 Limestone def. #4 Wingate 14-5
South Region Semifinal #2: #3 Tampa def. #2 Lenoir-Rhyne, 11-8
Saturday/Sunday, May 20-21 – Semifinals
North Region Final: #3 Merrimack def. #1 Adelphi, 17-9
South Region Final: #1 Limestone def. #3 Tampa, 12-10
Sunday, May 28 – Championship
#3 Merrimack vs. #1 Limestone at Gillette Stadium (2 p.m.)
GAME DAY INFO
All tickets are $20 and can be purchased online through the NCAA, by calling 508-384-9253 or on game day at the Gillette Stadium Box Office. All tickets are general admission – there is no assigned seating. There are no complimentary tickets available.
MERRIMACK SEATING SECTION
Seats will be clearly sectioned off behind the Merrimack bench on the East Side of the stadium on game day. Your ticket is valid for all three games being played on Sunday, beginning at 11:00 a.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.
PARKING & TAILGATE
The Office of Development and Alumni Relations will sponsor a pregame tailgate on Sunday beginning at 12 p.m. with giveaways, music and refreshments. All parking is free for game-day ticket holders. Merrimack fans are encouraged to park in Lot 3 (identified by the MC logo on this map). 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/blue and gold signage to celebrate with your fellow Warriors prior to the game!
The Athletic Department has set up a tournament central page online that will include all pertinent information leading up up to the national championship game. To access, please click here or head to www.MerrimackAthletics.com/Gillette!
Merrimack in the NCAA Tournament:
- Merrimack is back in the national tournament for the third straight season and fourth time overall in program history; the previous three occasions were in 2009, 2015 and 2016.
- Last week’s 17-9 win at Adelphi secured the program’s first-ever trip to the national championship game. Prior to this year, the Warriors had never advanced further than the semifinal round of the tournament.
- In 2016, Merrimack won its first-ever NCAA Tournament home game against LIU Post before falling to Le Moyne in the semifinal round.
- In 2015, Merrimack won the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament game at Adelphi, 10-9, to advance to the national semifinals before coming within an overtime goal of advancing to the national championship game for the first time in school history but came up just short against Le Moyne.
- Merrimack’s other NCAA semifinal appearance was back in 2009, before the national tournament field expanded from four teams to eight (which happened in 2013), when the Warriors earned the school’s first-ever at-large berth into the national bracket, which was automatically considered a semifinal berth
- The Warriors’ all-time postseason record (NE-10 Tournament + NCAA Tournament) stands at 22-20; Merrimack has gone 4-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and 18-17 all-time in the NE-10 Tournament.
- Merrimack secured its first win in four tries against Le Moyne in the NCAA Tournament on May 13 (1-3); Merrimack’s only other NCAA Tournament opponents have been Adelphi (2-0) and LIU Post (1-0).
Last Time Out:
- aced by a stretch of 11 uninterrupted goals that spanned from the sixth minute of the game all the way to halftime, Merrimack made history by punching its ticket to the NCAA Tournament Final by virtue of a 17-9 victory over No. 3 Adelphi on Saturday afternoon at Motamed Field.
- After Adelphi scored the game’s first goal, Merrimack seized the momentum by reeling off four straight over the remainder of the opening stanza, with two tallies coming from rookie Charlie Bertrand to stake the visitors a 4-1 lead after 15 minutes.
- That momentum surge continued in the second, as the Warriors padded their lead with seven more uninterrupted tallies, running their total run to 11-0 to open up a 10-goal halftime lead. Only one Adelphi shot reached goalkeeper Edward Hellier in the frame, which he stopped, while Merrimack committed no turnovers compared to Adelphi’s four.
- The third quarter featured the most combined goals in the game with both teams combining for nine tallies, as the Warriors answered all but one of Adelphi’s five goals to take a nine-score lead (15-6) heading into the final frame.
- Two quick goals from the hosts and then another man-up tally brought the Panthers within six goals (15-9) with just over five minutes to play, but that was the closest the hosts would get, as Merrimack iced the game and clinched its trip to the national championship game by scoring the final two tallies to account for the final margin of victory.
Merrimack Garners Six USILA/Nike All-Americans:
- Merrimack received more postseason recognition in the form of a record-tying six student-athletes being named United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA)/Nike Division II All-Americans, as announced Wednesday.
- The Warriors’ six All-America selections were the second most by a single school in the country, trailing only fellow Northeast-10 Conference constituent Adelphi, who led the nation with seven All-Americans.
- Merrimack’s six selections tied the program record for most All-America representation in a single season; there were six Warrior All-Americans selected in both 2015 and 2016, as well.
- Merrimack had two representatives on the USILA All-America First Team for the second straight season, as senior midfielder Tim Towler and junior defenseman James Bassett each were slotted at the first team midfield and defensive units, respectively.
- The Warriors had two more representatives on the All-America Second Team in the form of senior short stick midfielder Hunter Schmell and freshman attack Charlie Bertrand.
- Senior defender Brennen Morin was a member of the Third Team All-America defensive corps, while junior faceoff specialist Blake Boudreau rounded out the Warriors’ six honorees by being named an All-America Honorable Mention selection.
Towler, Morgan Headline Nine NEILA All-New England Selections:
- Merrimack – which had already boasted a league-high nine Northeast-10 All- Conference selections two weeks ago – was well-represented on the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) All-New England Division II Team, with a region-high nine selections.
- The Warriors, which went a perfect 8-0 against schools from New England and were the unanimous top-ranked team in each of the NEILA’s weekly regional rankings from start to finish, also were named the New England Team of the Year once again.
- In addition, Merrimack lay claim to the two major all-region awards, as senior Tim Towler – two weeks after being named the NE10 Player of the Year – earned an identical accolade as the NEILA Player of the Year for top bragging rights in all of New England. He becomes the program’s seventh NEILA Player of the Year since the 2008 season, joining graduates Scott Corcoran ’16, Jimmy Holland ’14, Corey Lunney ’13, and Greg Rogowski ’09.
- Head coach Mike Morgan, who is in the midst of his 10th season, also earned NEILA Coach of the Year honors for the second time in his career and for the first time since the 2008 season.
- The nine overall all-region selections, meanwhile, mark the second straight year that the program has had nine NEILA All-New England picks. The only other season that saw the program garner more all-region selections was in 2015 (10).
- Merrimack owns the top-ranked offense in the NE10 and third-best in the country (15.61).
- The same can be said for Merrimack’s man-up offense, which operates at 43.4 percent, and leads the conference and ranks fourth nationally.
- The Warriors are equally impressive on the back end, ranking second in the league and eighth nationally yielding only 7.61 goals per game.
- Merrimack boasts the third-best average scoring margin in the country (+8.0).
- Merrimack has been held to a single-digit goal total just twice this season (9 at Adelphi, April 1; 9 at Le Moyne, May 5). Other than that, Merrimack has scored no fewer than 11 goals in its remaining games.
- Freshman Charlie Bertrand was named the NE10 Rookie of the Year and was once named the USILA National Offensive Player of the Week; he has posted no fewer than three points in any game he has played in and has 12 hat tricks. He leads the NE10 in goals (51) and points (74) and ranks 10th nationally in goals per game (3.0) and 13thin points per game (4.35).
- Senior midfielder Tim Towler was named NE10 and NEILA Player of the Year and has been a force on all three ends of the turf. His 53 points, 38 goals (4th/NE10) and 15 assists all rank second on the team, while his nine man-up goals are the second-most in the conference and third-most in the country. He also has committed just 15 turnovers on the year, among the fewest on the team for any midfielder/attack.
- Junior James Bassett was the NE10 Defensive Player of the Year, as his steady presence on the back end has helped the Warriors post a top-10 scoring defense nationally. He has also contributed 18 caused turnovers and 52 ground balls, ranking second and third on the team, respectively, in each category.
- Junior Blake Boudreau is the conference’s third-best faceoff man and ranks 12th nationally with a 63.2 winning percentage on the X. He also ranks 14th nationally in ground balls per game (5.88).
- Sophomore Edward Hellier has been a rock between the posts for Merrimack; he ranks eighth nationally in goals-against average (7.8) and 15th in save percentage (.559) and has eight double-digit save performances.
Know Thy Foe:
- Limestone marched through the regular season with a 14-game winning streak, but that game ultimately came to an end when the Saints fell to the Warriors, 18-13, at Arundel High School in a neutral-site matchup in late April.
- The Saints captured their 10th Conference Carolina Tournament championship in 11 years, capping off a 7-0 record in league play during the regular season cruising to a tournament title with an average margin of victory of 8.5 in two games.
- Limestone reached its fourth straight national championship game after dispatching Tampa, 12-10, in the national semifinals following a 14-5 win over Wingate in the quarterfinals.
- In total, the Saints have qualified or 17 straight NCAA Tournaments, are four-time champions (last in 2015) and are looking to avenge an 8-4 loss to Le Moyne in the NCAA Final last year.
- Merrimack earned its first-ever No. 1 national ranking in the USILA/Nike 2017 Division II Coaches’ Poll in April and has been ranked no lower than sixth at any point this season.
- Merrimack has victories against the following ranked opponents: Limestone (1), Le Moyne (2), LIU Post (7), Pace (7), Saint Anselm (14), Southern New Hampshire (18) and Molloy (19), as well as a number of opponents that were receiving votes at the time of their matchup.
- Merrimack’s only losses this year are to Le Moyne, which was ranked No. 1 and No. 4 when they met, as well as then-sixth-ranked Adelphi.
Inside the Series:
- Merrimack is 2-4 all-time against Limestone after defeating the Saints by an 18-13 margin earlier this year at a neutral site in Maryland.
- The Warriors’ only other win in the series came on March 10, 2012, by a 12-11 score in Baltimore.
- Prior to this year, all of the last three meetings have been decided by three goals or less, with the most recent outing, an 8-7 loss, coming on March 9, 2014, in Towson, Maryland.
- Merrimack and Limestone have never met in the postseason.
Inside the Matchup:
|#4 Merrimack (15-3, 9-2 NE10)||Category||#1 Limestone (20-1, 7-0 CC)|
|5/13 at #2 Le Moyne (W, 10-5)
5/20 at #3 Adelphi (W, 17-9)
|Recent Games||5/13 vs. #9 Wingate (W, 14-5)
5/21 vs. #8 Tampa (W, 12-10)
|15.62 (3rd/NCAA)||Scoring Offense||16.33 (1st/NCAA)|
|7.61 (8th)||Scoring Defense||7.9 (13th)|
|43.4% (4th)||Man-Up Offense||33.8% (24th)|
|75.5% (17th)||Man-Down Defense||80.6% (6th)|
|Charlie Bertrand (51-23—74)||Lead Scorer||Charlie Sheehan (62-20—82)|
|Tim Towler (9)||Man-Up Goals Leader||Brendan P. Smith (6)|
|Blake Boudreau (112)||Ground Balls Leader||Kevin Reisman (232)|
|Blake Boudreau (229-362/.632)||Faceoff Specialist||Reisman (341-457/.746)|
|Eric Coburn (26)||Caused Turnovers Leader||Ryan Mulka (19)|
|Edward Hellier (14-3, 7.88, .559)||Projected Starting Goalie||Cole Aikens (15-1, 8.29, .521)|