Top teams clash in Division II
Notes: Syracuse, Notre Dame and Hopkins hold strong in poll
If Dowling slowed down C.W. Post’s momentum with an 8-7 win over the then-No. 1 Pioneers on March 26, Mercyhurst nearly stopped the defending NCAA Division II Champions altogether when the teams met at Post’s Hickox Field on Saturday.
In a meeting of the No. 3 and No. 4 teams in the nation, the Lakers held Post to four goals, their lowest total since 2008, when Mercyhust defeated the Pioneers by a score of 8-1. On this occasion, however, Post’s four goals were enough to pull out the win, as the Pioneers emerged victorious by a 4-3 margin.
Both goaltenders were outstanding in the contest, as the Lakers’ Zach Nash made 14 saves and Post’s Mike Giordano made 13. However, the Pioneers were able to get offense when they needed it, starting in the first quarter, when goals by Keith Rodriguez and Jimmy Johnston. Sophomore attackman Brian Scheetz was able to tie the game with his eighth and ninth goals of the season, and Nash’s three second-quarter saves sent the game to halftime tied at two goals apiece.
The Pioneers retook the lead in the third quarter on the 33rd goal of the season by Eddie Plompen, one of the top ten goal-scorers in Division II (2.75 goals per game), and Johnston added his second goal of the game in the first minute of the fourth quarter to make it 4-2 Post. Andy Winslow scored for Mercyhurst 1:40 later to cut the lead back to one, but the Lakers could come no further, thanks to Giordano’s five saves in the fourth quarter saves.
With a hard-fought game in the books, both the No. 3 Pioneers and the No. 4 Lakers held steady this week in the USILA Division II Coaches’ Poll, and their next opponents will be the same. C.W. Post will travel to Wheeling, W. Va., on Wednesday to take on Wheeling Jesuit, while the Cardinals will visit Mercyhurst on Sunday in the Lakers’ next contest.
Need to Know
• While Syracuse, Notre Dame and Johns Hopkins held strong this week as the top three teams in the USILA Division I Poll, the rest of the top 10 saw major upheaval. Duke dropped from No. 4 to No. 10 after suffering back-to-back losses for the second time this season, falling on Saturday to then-No. 10 Denver. The Blue Devils’ rivals from North Carolina also took a tumble, as Steele Stanwick’s overtime goal lifted the Cavaliers to an 11-10 victory over the then-No. 5 Tar Heels, dropping them to No. 9 in the poll. The big winners in the shuffle are Denver, which jumped up to No. 6 this week, and Maryland, which moved from No. 7 to No. 4 after a win over Navy.
• Conference Carolinas saved the best for last with No. 1 Limestone, as the Saints were held to their lowest goal total of the season in their conference finale against Pfeiffer. However, the nine goals – which included five from the attack tandem of sophomore Riley Loewen and junior Shayne Jackson – were plenty to defeat Pfeiffer, as goalkeeper Steve Gartelman stopped 11 of the 15 shots he faced to give the Saints a 9-4 victory and the Conference Carolinas regular-season title. Limestone will be the top seed in the Conference Carolinas tournament, which starts on Friday in Charlotte as the Saints take on fourth-seeded Belmont Abbey. If successful against the Crusaders, the Saints will face either host Queens or meet the Falcons for the second time in eight days.
• Amherst opened the season with a loss to No. 1 Tufts, but the reigning NCAA Division III Champions are the only team that’s been able to get a win against the NESCAC’s breakout team. The Lord Jeffs have won nine straight games under first-year head coach Jon Thompson, including the team’s first win over Middlebury since 1989. Junior goalkeeper Sam Jakimo made 12 saves and scooped up six ground balls for Amherst in the win last Wednesday, then followed it up on Saturday with a career-high 20 saves in an 11-8 win over rival Williams. The pair of standout performances earned Jakimo NESCAC Player of the Week Honors, and the Lord Jeffs rose to No. 10 this week in the USILA Division III Poll.
• Vermont sophomore attackman Drew Philie has been named the America East Rookie of the Week after leading the Catamounts to wins over Holy Cross and Albany. The native of Sandwich, Mass., scored five goals and added an assist in a 15-5 win over the Crusaders, then added three more goals win the win over the Great Danes, Vermont’s first win over Albany since 2001.
• Mary Washington senior midfielder Kohl Meyer was named the Capital Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the week after filling the stat sheet for the Eagles in a pair of wins last week. Meyer scored four goals and added a pair of assists while going 7-of-12 on faceoffs in a 20-3 win over Hood, then matched that scoring total while going 6-of-11 on faceoffs in a 16-8 win at Wesley, helping the Eagles to clinch home field for a first-round CAC playoff game.
• After defeating No. 9 Merrimack on Saturday, No. 7 Adelphi saw two players earn weekly honors from the Northeast-10. Grad student midfielder Tommy Susko scored five goals and added an assist to earn Northeast-10 Player of the Week honors, while junior goalkeeper Eric Janssen was named Goalkeeper of the Week made 16 saves in the Panthers’ 10-8 victory.
• Cornell senior attackman David Lau was named the Ivy League Player of the Week after leading the No.5 Big Red to a 13-12 win over Harvard. Lau scored a career-high five goals and added three assists in the win, figuring on more than half of the Big Red’s goals and becoming the third Cornell player to earn Ivy Player of the Week honors this season.
• Mars Hill senior attackman Tyler Farmer has been named the 2011 Deep South Conference Player of the Year. Farmer leads the conference with 4.0 points per game and 3.15 goals per contest, leading the Lions to the regular-season conference title.