No. 12 Men's Lacrosse Heads to No. 9 Union

QMoroneyaction.jpgContact: Ben Badua

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – The 12th-ranked Amherst men’s lacrosse team (15-4) resumes its NCAA postseason run on Saturday, May 10 at ninth-ranked Union College (14-3). Opening face-off on Frank Bailey Field is set for 1 p.m.

TICKET INFORMATION: Ticket prices for this weekend’s NCAA action have been set at $6 adults, $3 students and seniors, $2 children 12 and under.

LIVE COVERAGE: Live stats and a webcast will be available for Saturday’s contest courtesy of Union Sports Information.

Making just its second NCAA championship appearance, Amherst is 3-1 all-time in tournament play. The Jeffs defeated Keene State (12-8) and Middlebury (12-9) in the opening rounds of the 2011 championship before dropping a 15-10 decision to Rochester Institute of Technology in the national quarterfinals. The Purple & White opened this year’s run with a 13-10 come-from-behind triumph over Colorado College. In the midst of their third NCAA postseason (2014, 2012, 2011), the Dutchmen are 4-2 all-time in tourney play undefeated (3-0) at home.

Racking up a 12-3 regular season slate, the Jeffs topped league rivals Bowdoin (13-6) and Wesleyan (12-8) to reach their first-ever NESCAC championship game. Despite falling to Tufts (20-13) in the finals, Amherst earned an at-large bid, drawing Colorado College on Wednesday. Down 8-4 at the half, the Jeffs outscored the Tigers 9-2 over the game’s final 30 minutes en route to a 13-10 opening round victory.

Pacing the Amherst attack, Devin Acton ’14 netted six goals, while Quinn Moroney ’16 had three goals and three assists. Rob Butko ’16, Aaron Mathias ’14, Charlie Gill ’16 and Michael Litner ’16 accounted for the other four Purple & White scores with the home team finishing the game with a 47-36 shot advantage and 41-28 edge in ground balls.

After dropping the season opener to Cortland, Union rattled off a program-record 10-straight wins before suffering an 8-7 setback against RIT. Winning three of their next four, the Dutchmen set-up a rematch against the Tigers in the Liberty League championship game, but would fall by a score of 13-11. Still nabbing an at-large bid, Union jumped out to a 5-0 lead against New England College and never looked back, posting a lopsided 24-4 first round triumph. The 24 goals were the most in head coach Paul Wehrum’s eight seasons at the helm, with the 20-goal margin of victory the largest dating back to 2007 (vs. Cazenova, 23-3).

Six different Dutchmen had two goals with 18 players recording a point. Nolan Stauffer ’16 had three goals and an assist, while Kyle Mason ’17 finished with two scores and two helpers. Rob Santangelo ’14 had three assists, while Peter Richardson ’17 notched a goal and three helpers.

Quinn Moroney ’16 and Devin Acton ’14 headline one of the NESCAC’s most explosive offenses. As a team, the Jeffs rank second in the league in goals per game (14.0), while also sitting second in the conference in man-up conversion (44.4) and shot percentage (31.8). In the midst of a historic season, Quinn Moroney is the first 100-point scorer (106) in the program’s modern era. His 78 assists top the NESCAC charts, while his 5.6 ppg rank among the nation’s leaders.

Not to be outdone, Acton has amassed a career-high 56 goals – good for third in the NESCAC. Upping his career point total to 220, Acton is the Jeffs’ highest scorer since Derek Cherney graduated in 2007 with 204. Giving Amherst some added punch  is Kane Haffey ’16, who currently sits third in the conference in goals (53). Aaron Mathias ’14 (35 G, 7 A), Dylan Park ’16 (22 G, 5 A) and Patrick Moroney ’16 (16 G, 11 A) could also factor be a offensively.

Collecting seven ground balls and three caused turnovers against Colorado College, Ryan Cassidy ’16 helps keeps things clear in front of the Jeff cage. The sophomore standout is among the team’s defensive leaders with 56 ground balls and 19 caused turnovers. Matt Virgilio ’15 has 33 ground balls and a squad-best 21 caused turnovers.

Greg Majno ’14 has seen the majority of time in the Amherst net, logging 950:30 minutes. Going 14-4 on the year, he enters Saturday’s showdown with a 9.78 goals-against average and .553 save percentage. Seeing limited action during the season, Cody Tranbarger ’17 spelled Majno in the second half of the NCAA first round game against the Tigers, making five saves en route to his first collegiate victory. In eight appearances and 119:57 minutes, he has a 11.00 GAA and .600 save percentage.

Surrendering just 6.19 goals per game, Union carries arguably the Liberty League’s best defense into Saturday’s affair. Conference Defensive Player of the Year Stefan Basile ’15 anchors the unit in net, leading the league and ranking fourth in the country in save percentage (.655). He also tops the Liberty charts in goals-against average (6.43). First-team all-league pick Adam Sands ’15 has 42 ground balls and a team-high 28 caused turnovers while second-teamer Kyle McQuiggan ’14 has 46 ground balls and 23 caused turnovers.

Averaging 11.29 gpg, Union’s attack features several talented scorers. Second-team all-conference selection Rob Santangelo ’14 leads the team in points (42) with his 24 assists ranking sixth in the Liberty. Nolan Stauffer ’16 has 22 goals and 10 assists to his credit, while Richard Gregory ’15 has tallied 19 goals and 11 helpers. First-team honoree Jake Quinn ’14 enters this weekend with 12 goals and six assists as a short-stick midfielder.