Denison vs. St. Mary's: Three things to watch

Visiting Big Red enters on two-game winning streak, while Seahawks seeking to end two-game losing skid

March 13, 2013|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

Both teams enter this contest on opposing trends. Denison, which is ranked No. 12 in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, has won two consecutive games since falling, 8-7, to Washington & Lee on Feb. 24. The Big Red (3-1), which has won the past two North Coast Atlantic Conference championships, advanced to last year’s NCAA tournament quarterfinal round and tied a school record with 15 wins. St. Mary’s has dropped two contests last week after a 2-1 start. The Seahawks was nipped, 13-12, in overtime by No. 6 Washington College last Tuesday and then fell, 10-6, to a Muhlenberg squad that had entered that day with a 2-3 record. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Homewood Field in Baltimore Wednesday.

1) Finish out the quarters. St. Mary’s has developed the troubling habit of allowing opponents to score goals in the last minute of quarters this season. That trend didn’t really bite the Seahawks in the first three games, but it has been problematic in the team’s last two losses. Last Tuesday, the Shoremen scored with 31 seconds left in the second period and then with 29 seconds left in the third frame and eventually prevailed in the extra session. Last Saturday, the Mules scored with four seconds remaining in the first quarter and 49 and 28 seconds in the second. Playing to the horn should be a priority for St. Mary’s against Denison.

2) Get more from the midfield. It’s no surprise that senior attackman Patrick Mull, who led last year’s offense in both assists (34) and points (48), has assumed a similar role this season with 12 assists and 16 points. But when you add freshman Conor Jordan (eight goals and three assists) and sophomore Matt Tarrant (9, 2), the starting attack for the Seahawks has combined for 56.7 percent of the team’s assists and 48.1 percent of the points. Six midfielders have scored at least two goals each and posted at least three points, but that unit needs to provide more support to alleviate some of the pressure on Mull, Jordan and Tarrant.

3) Go toe-to-toe with Denison’s offense. The Big Red boasts one of the more prolific offenses in Division III as the unit is averaging 13.5 goals this season. The team has scored 10 goals or more in each of its three victories. Junior attackman Eddie Vita, who led Denison in goals last year with 44, has recorded five goals and three assists, and junior midfielder Chapin Speidel, who compiled 22 goals and 18 assists in 2012, has posted nine goals and three assists. But the offense has unearthed a pair of gems in sophomore attackmen Teddy Powell (seven goals and four assists) and Nick Caravana (5, 5). How St. Mary’s, which is surrendering an average of 11.8 goals, contains that foursome will go a long way into determining the game’s outcome.

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