Men’s Lax Ready to Defend NEAC Title
May 4, 2012
Momentum is definitely on the side of the Keuka College men’s lacrosse team heading into this weekend’s North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) postseason tournament.
The Storm (9-4, 7-1 NEAC) has won its last seven conference games to earn the No. 2 seed in the upcoming NEAC postseason tournament, which runs Saturday and Sunday at Morrisville State (11-3, 8-0), the regular season champions.
Keuka, the defending NEAC champions, kicks off it is title defense with a 2 p.m. game against rival Cazenovia College (7-7, 6-2) Saturday afternoon in one NEAC semifinal. Morrisville State and No. 4 Medaille College (7-6, 5-3) meet in the other semifinal, at 11:30 a.m.
The winners of each semifinal will square off at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon in the NEAC championship game. Keuka defeated Morrisville 8-7 in the 2011 title game.
Included amongst the Storm’s conference wins is an impressive, 15-4 dismantling of Cazenovia College April 28 on Senior Day. The Storm has not dropped a NEAC game since a 12-8 loss to Morrisville State on March 31.
“We told ourselves all week long that our new season starts after the Wells game. We have two games left that we have to win to take home the NEAC title, that’s the main goal,” said senior attacker Gino Marcello (Rochester, NY/Churchville-Chili), one of five members of the Storm to earn All-NEAC honors.
“It will be tough facing these guys again in a week, but we know what we need to do to win the game, and if we come to play next week just like we did today, there won’t be a problem.”
Marcello, sophomore Scott Miller (Penn Yan, NY/Penn Yan) and sophomore Zachary Koczent (Geneva, NY/Geneva) all earned first-team All-NEAC honors while junior Chris Redington (Tully, NY/Tully) earned second-team and freshman Anthony Luppino (Penn Yan, NY/Penn Yan) earned third-team All-NEAC, the conference announced Wednesday.
Marcello led the Storm in goals (36) and points (49) and his 13 assists were second most on the team during the regular season.
Miller played a key role on defense, starting all 13 games for a Keuka team that allowed only eight goals a game, with seven games allowing five or fewer goals.
Over the last five games, Keuka has allowed only 19 goals, including a 24-0 win over Penn State-Abington on April 21, the first shutout in the program’s 26-year history.
“Our potential is high and we’re looking good heading into NEAC’s,” said senior midfielder Mason Brown (Dundee, NY/Dundee).
“Keuka is always an end of the year team, we just seem to play our best lacrosse at the end of the season. We have momentum; we just have to stay level-headed and not take Cazenovia lightly.”
While it can be difficult to defeat the same squad twice in one week, Redington said the Storm gained plenty from its recent win over Cazenovia, when Keuka snapped a 1-all tie with seven straight goals bridging the first and second quarters to seize control for good. Keuka’s defense did its part, holding the Wildcats scoreless for a span of 23 minutes bridging the first and second quarters.
“That win built up a lot of confidence for us heading into the NEAC tournament,” said Redington, who was second on the Storm in goals (24) and points (33) despite only playing in 9 of a possible 13 games due to injuries
“Assuming we can build off of this win, which I think we can, we feel great heading into the postseason tournament. We have to continue to get better but hopefully if we come out and execute [like we did on Senior Day] we’ll get the same outcome. It would mean a lot to win back-to-back NEAC championships.”