Camels Secure Program´s Inaugural Berth in NCAA Men´s Lacrosse Champ.
Connecticut College set to host RIT Saturday at 1 p.m. in New London
NEW LONDON, Conn.--The Connecticut College Men´s Lacrosse Team has qualified for the 2010 NCAA Division III Lacrosse Championship. The Camels (14-2) will host the Rochester Institute of Technology (13-5) in the second round of the Championship Saturday, May 15 at 1 p.m. on the Artificial Turf at Silfen Field. The 23 team field was released Sunday night on the CBS College Sports Network.
Under the direction of Head Coach Dave Cornell, the Camels (14-2) opened the season with an unprecedented 13 game winning streak, climbing all the way up to #6 in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) National Poll.
Cornell was excited for his team, the entire coaching staff, and for all of the dedicated alumni and supporters who have been with the program from day one.
"It feels awesome right now," Cornell said. "I am really happy for our team that has put in so much hard work this year and especially for our senior class. This was our goal for their class to be the first team to get to the NCAA Tournament and we did it. I´m really excited for them and I´m just really happy for our guys especially after our disappointing loss to Wesleyan last week. I thought that we deserved to be in the tournament even with that loss. I did not know how the selection committee would look at it. But obviously they viewed the entire body of work from our season which was a great one."
During their extended winning streak, the Camels earned home victories against two undefeated teams ranked among the top in the nation. Connecticut College tripped up then ranked #5 Middlebury College, 8-7, back on March 27 and upended #6 Tufts University, 8-6 on April 17. The Panthers and Jumbos will join the Camels in the 2010 Championship field.
In a pre-season interview conducted back on March 10, Cornell outlined some keys to success for a squad that went 1-8 in the NESCAC just a year ago.
"We need to learn how to finish," Cornell said. "In my 27 games, our goal differential is -26 or less than a single goal per game. We've got to finish."
The Camels finished games in a variety of ways this season, sticking to the principle of hard work and playing 60 minutes of lacrosse. The Middlebury win was the first of four consecutive one goal victories for the team. On April 3 at Bowdoin, the Camels erased a 6-1 halftime deficit to vanquish the Polar Bears in overtime, 8-7.
On the field, the team has been led by senior tri-captains Steve Dachille (Garden City, N.Y.), Sean Driscoll (Peabody, Mass.) and Will Schumann (East Hampton, N.Y.).
"It feels pretty good right now," Schumann said. "This is something that we´ve talked about since my freshman year when Coach Cornell got here. It was always a dream of ours and now it´s actually happening. It´s pretty exciting stuff."
Dachille has exploded with a career-best 44 goals to lead the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) in goals scored.
Driscoll has made a seamless transition from the offensive to defensive midfield position and has collected 59 ground balls. Schumann continues to provide strong defensive play and has corralled 141 ground balls in his career.
Tickets for Saturday's game will be five dollars for adults, three dollars for students and one dollar for children aged 12 and under.
Additional Quotes from Sunday Night:
Dave Cornell Summarizes Some Key Factors that Led to His Team's Dramatic Turnaround
I really think it was the having the extra assistant coaches and having the lights certainly helped us for sure. So we were more prepared from a skill set and also from an x and o perspective for sure. We were able to go over a lot more stuff. But then the other part of it is our conditioning. I really thought we stepped up our conditioning this year. In past years when we were in tight games, we were a little tired and became fearful. This year, that stuff didn´t creep into our minds because we were in really good shape. So that was a big part of us being able to close things out.
Tri-Captain Steve Dachille '10
It was a little nerve racking watching the show. We were not sure what was going to happen but we´re glad that they (NCAA Committee) looked at our body of work. We just have to go out one game at a time and see what happens.
Tri-Captain Sean Driscoll '10
I´m ecstatic right now. Our hard work has paid off throughout the regular season. Last season we were down and out but all of the guys showed a lot of perseverance and got after it. It´s a great feeling right now.
Kevin Nally '10
It´s a great feeling tonight. It´s been a goal of ours to reach the NCAAs ever since we came in as a freshmen class. Being seniors together and playing all together, having this great year, getting to continue our season is something we are all excited about.
The Camels are 8-1 on their home field this season and that includes a 7-1 mark on the Artificial Turf at Silfen Field. The team continues to draw large crowds and played in front of 600 fans for their NESCAC Championship Quarterfinal game May 2.
Juniors Eric Doran (23 goals, nine assists) and Ryan Hayes (20 goals, 12 assists) have contributed 32 points each. Mark Mangano (Basking Ridge, N.J.) has dished out a team-high 15 assists to go with 13 goals for 28 points.
Chuck Czerkawski (Cohasset, Mass.) has won 63% of his face-offs (125-for-200) and leads the club with 63 ground balls. Sophomore net-minder Rob Moccia (Malvern, Pa.) is ranked second in both NESCAC goals against average (6.99 GAA) and save percentage (.630) and has collected 29 ground balls this season.
Dan Gallagher (Wayne, Pa.) is 16-for-22 in face-offs over the course of his past three games. Sophomore Mike O´Donnell (Winchester, Mass.) has been strong and aggressive in riding and clearing situations with 28 ground balls.
May 9, 2010