Home Men's Lacrosse Preview: Merrimack faces Limestone in Sunday’s national championship game

Preview: Merrimack faces Limestone in Sunday’s national championship game

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photo: James Stankiewicz

The Merrimack College men’s lacrosse program’s postseason run has reached the final stop on what has been a long and winding journey.
After posting upset wins over each of the top-three seeds from the north region and traveling hundreds of miles from the shores of Lake Erie, to Long Island and back to central New York, the Warriors will have the opportunity to defend their national title when they meet the team that denied them a first shot at glory – Limestone College – in the 2019 NCAA Division II Men’s Lacrosse Championship on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Game time from Philadelphia is set for 1 p.m.

Ticket Prices
Individual and all-session tickets for Memorial Day Weekend are available by visiting this website.

All lower level tickets are general admission (no assigned seating) and cost $20. There are no complimentary tickets availableTickets are not available for purchase through Merrimack.

STUDENT TICKETS: Discounted $10 student tickets will be available for sale at the Xfinity Will Call booth. MACK Card required for purchase!

Merrimack in the NCAA Championship

  • Merrimack is back in the national tournament for a program-record fifth straight season and sixth time overall in program history; the previous five occasions were in 2009 and 2015-18.
  • Merrimack, the defending national champions, has won six straight NCAA Tournament games dating back to last year; the Warriors dominated on their way to the national title in 2018, averaging a 14-goal margin of victory in all three postseason games last spring culminating in their 23-6 thrashing of Saint Leo in the national final.
  • The Warriors are back in the NCAA Championship Final for the third straight year. In addition to last May’s victory, they came within two goals of winning it all in 2017 in an eventual 11-9 setback against Limestone.
  • Merrimack has reached the semifinal round of the national tournament in all of the six years it has qualified, including this season to extend its streak to a nation-high five straight seasons; 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 five years it has reached the national tournament (including this year).
  • The defending champions have embraced the Road Warrior mentality to reach the title game for a third straight year; with the bracket expanding to six teams on each side, sixth-seeded Merrimack has had to travel to all three teams it has faced up until this point and picked up wins at the No. 1, 2 and 3 seeds in the north region to return to the championship bout.
  • The Warriors’ all-time record in the NCAA Tournament stands at 10-4, including 3-0 at home and 6-3 on the road, as well as 1-1 at a neutral site (Gillette Stadium – 2017).
  • Merrimack’s most frequent NCAA Tournament opponent is Le Moyne (2-3), followed by Adelphi (3-0), LIU Post (1-0), Mercyhurst (1-0), NYIT (1-0), Limestone (0-1), Saint Leo (1-0) and Seton Hill (1-0).

Five Things to Know:

  • Merrimack concluded the regular season with a 13-3 overall record (7-0 at home). They finished in a three-way tie for first place in the NE10 and earned a share of the conference’s regular season crown but were seeded third in the tournament due to the goal differential tiebreaker. The Warriors were denied a chance to repeat as league champions after falling to Le Moyne on the road, 12-11, in a wild semifinal bout, but they have not list since then thanks to three straight road wins in the national tournament over third-seeded Mercyhurst (16-5), second-ranked Adelphi (14-12) and top-seeded Le Moyne (15-14/overtime) to earn the trip to Philadelphia.
  • Recording no fewer than 12 goals in all but two games this season, Merrimack owns the NE10’s best scoring offense (and the country’s third-best), averaging 15.95 goals per game. They also boast the nation’s third-ranked man-up offense that converts at 48.9 percent. The Warriors have also taken care of the ball well, as indicated by their 15.58 turnovers per game (fourth-fewest in the country).
  • Junior Charlie Bertrand continues to back up his status as one of the nation’s best overall players with 90 points on the strength of 74 goals and 16 assists in 15 games. He leads the country in points per game (6.00) and goals per game (4.93), while sophomore Sean Black leads the country in assists per game (4.00) and ranks fourth in scoring average (5.67); he is up to a team-high 102 points on the season (30g, 72a), becoming just the second player in school history to record 100-plus points in a season. He needs six more to tie the single-season record of 108 points set by Greg Rogowski ’09 in 2006. Sophomore Christian Thomas rounds out the “big three” with 92 points (50g, 42a) and ranks in the top-15 nationally in assists and scoring averages. Altogether, they combine for 284 points – no other team in the country boasts a top-three scoring tandem with as many points.
  • Junior goalkeeper Nick Ponte has put together a strong season in net, owning the nation’s 11th-best save percentage (.559) and 10th-best goals-against average (9.40).
  • Meeting for the seventh time overall and the first time since the 2017 national championship game at Gillette Stadium, Merrimack and Limestone have played a fiercely contested series over the years. Outside of the first-ever meeting in 1997, all of the other five games have been settled by five goals or less, with four of them being decided by three or fewer tallies. Merrimack had a lead at the half in that game two years ago but ultimately fell by an 11-9 final to finish as the national runner-up. After missing the national tournament last year, the Saints march into this year’s championship bout to the tune of a 20-0 record. Their average margin of victory is nearly 10 goals on the year, as they are back in the championship game for the 12th time in school history and are seeking their sixth title, second only to Adelphi in the all-time DII ledger. The nation’s top scoring offense (17.55) is led by Larson Sundown’s 96 poitns (58g, 38a). Christopher Parrott and Dakota Kirsch-Downs both are close to 70 percent faceoff men on the year and have nearly 200 ground balls combined. In net, Danny Forren has started every game and owns an 8.49 goals against average and .581 save percentage.

Inside the Matchup:

#7 Merrimack (16-3, 10-1 NE10) Category #1 Limestone (20-0, 7-0 CC)
5/18 at #2 Le Moyne (W, 15-14/OT) Recent Games 5/19 vs. Indianapolis (W, 16-7)
15.95 Scoring Offense 17.55
9.89 Scoring Defense 8.20
48.9%   Man-Up Offense 33.8%
71.9% Man-Down Defense 72.9%
34.05 Ground Balls 45.6
15.58 Turnovers 17.90
8.00 Caused Turnovers 7.45
52.7% Faceoff Pct. 71.9%
81.7% Clearing Pct. 89.4%

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