Southern Brawl: Limestone Hosts St. Leo
from press release
GAFFNEY, S.C. — Fourth-ranked Limestone hosts eighth-ranked Saint Leo on Saturday in an NCAA Division II south region men's lacrosse grudge match at "The Rock" where the opening face-off is slated for 1:00 p.m.
It's only March but Saturday's non-conference clash between the Saints and Lions could have huge post season implications for each when it comes to who might represent the region come D2 final four-time. Limestone, 4-1 overall, is currently 4-0 in the region, the Saints lone loss to date is an 8-6 decision against second-ranked Le Moyne, March 7. Saint Leo, a member of the Deep South Conference, is 6-1 within the region, 9-1 overall. The Lions lone loss on the season was at now ninth-ranked Queens University of Charlotte, 11-10, on February 26 and they have not lost since, a span of seven games. Saint Leo's overall win total on the season is not only the most in Division II but is equaled only in the NCAA men's lacrosse ranks, as of this release, by Division III powers Gettysburg and Salisbury.
Limestone entered this week third in the NCAA Division II ranks in scoring defense yielding five goals on average while Saint Leo is seventh in both scoring offense at 12.44 goals per game and scoring defense allowing 6.89 per outing. The Saints have D2's fifth rated scoring offense averaging 12.8 goals and are second in both man-down defense at 0.9% and face-off wins at .743%.
Limestone's scoring attack is led by senior Mike Poerstel (Annapolis, MD) and freshmen Riley Loewen (Burnaby, British, Columbia) who average 2.2 and 2.0 goals per game respectively while Teddy Prager (Seaford, N.Y.) averages 1.2 assists. Poerstel and Prager each tallied goals against the Lions last season. Senior Sean Bennett (East Moriches, N.Y.) is third nationally in face-off win percentage at .744 and 13th in groundballs at just under five per game. In the crease, sophomore keeper Steve Gartleman (Seaford, N.Y.) leads Division II with a 4.9 goals against average.
The Saint Leo attack is led by seniors Luke Baruch (Golden, Col.) and Kyle Marceau (Concord, N.H.) who average 2.75 and 2.63 goals per game respectively. Baruch had a pair of goals and one assist against Limestone last season. Marceau, who tallied four goals and added three assists (7 points) in that meeting, leads Division II in points per game averaging 4.13. Meanwhile, junior Mike Delbuono (Southington, Conn.) ranks second nationally in groundballs at 7.63, and is fifth in face-off percentage at .685. In goal, junior David Erdman (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) is sixth with in goals against average at 6.91.
Saturday marks the fourth meeting in the series with Limestone victorious the previous three including 11-10 last season in Florida when Limestone was rated No.7 and Saint Leo 10th. The two squads met at "The Rock" in 2008 with the Saints winning 14-5.
Limestone, which is in the midst of arguably the program's most grueling four game regular season stretch, will visit ninth-ranked, in-region and Conference Carolinas rival Queens University of Charlotte next Wednesday, March 31 (6:00 p.m.) Not only are the Saints' next two opponents a combined 14-2 but Limestone began this stretch with in-region wins over now tenth-ranked Mars Hill (10-9 OT) and Lees-McRae (17-1) who were a combined 8-1 heading into those contests.
Saturday's men's lacrosse contest will be available via live audio/video web-stream and live stats, more information is available at www.golimestonesaints.com. The video web-stream coverage is tentatively set to begin at 12:50 p.m. with the "Countdown to Face-off Show" which will include an interview with the head coach of the Saints Mike Cerino who is in 15th overall season at the helm with a mark of 120-65 including 40-9 ledger since returning in 2007 season.
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