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MLAX: Back of the Net – Mar. 31

Mar 31, 2014, 4:33 PM EDT

Last week, the CAA teams went 1-1 in non-conference play and ironically all three of Saturday, March 29’s games were decided by the same score – 9-7! Hofstra defeated Towson in Hempstead and Drexel captured a win over Delaware in Newark in CAA action, while Penn State suffered a non-conference loss as they fell to Villanova at home.

We may be a month out from championship week, but congrats to Hofstra, as they clinched a spot in 2014 CAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship!  The Pride has opened their conference schedule 3-0 and most recently defeated Towson on Saturday, snapping the Tigers’ six-game winning streak.

Now the Pride must sit back and play three non-conference games before they face UMass and Penn State which will assist in determining their seed and possibly the opportunity to host a semifinal round, if they earn one of the top two seeds in the conference. Hofstra will return to the championship for the first time since 2011.  They missed the four-team cut in 2012 and 2013. Since we are talking championship, here is what this year’s bracket looks like, as we return to semifinals back at the highest two seeds (April 30) and the championship game at the remaining highest seed (May 3).

 

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Helping the Dragons even their conference record to 1-1 on the year was CAA Player of the Week Nick Saputo.  The junior face-off specialist earned the weekly honors after winning 33-of-46 FOs (.717) on the week and averaged 10 ground balls per game.

Despite their loss to a tough Hofstra squad, Towson freshman Joe Seider received CAA Rookie of the Week after scoring a game- and career-high four goals against the Pride on Saturday. The rookie’s first goal of the game helped the Tigers take their only lead of the contest in the first quarter, 2-1, while his middle two goals tied the game up in the second and third stanzas. He also added a ground ball in the game.

To read more about these two honorees and their weekly accomplishments, check out the full report on CAASports.com.

The Minutemen of Massachusetts continued to be ranked in both national polls this week, while Hofstra leaped into both polls for the first time this season. Even with a week off, UMass improved to No. 11 in the USILA Coaches Poll, while Hofstra entered at No. 20. In the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll, UMass improved to No. 13 and Hofstra jumped to No. 17. Drexel and Towson are both receiving votes in both national polls, while PSU also received votes in the coaches poll. Penn State, which was selected to capture the 2014 CAA regular season title, fell out of the Top 20 rankings for the first time this season on both polls as they dropped to 4-5 on the year. The last time Hofstra was ranked in both polls was March 25, 2013, nearly a year ago.
Drexel’s Nick Saputo is ranked among Division I leaders in the top four in two categories – ground balls per game (3rd/10.20) and face-off winning percentage (4th/0.670). UMass’ Joe Calvello is averaging 9.44 ground balls per game to follow Saputo and is ranked 6th nationally. In team stats, with the help of Saputo, Drexel is ranked third in the nation winning 65.5 percent of its face offs. UMass follows in the same category ranked 8th (.0.615). Towson ranks fourth averaging just 12.00 turnovers per game, while Hofstra follows at 8th (12.33). The Tigers also rank eighth in man-down defense (.750) and UMass’ winning percentage is 12th among all Division I teams (.778). Full NCAA rankings listed on page 5 of the CAA Weekly Report.

 

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Rooting for @towsonswimdive So. Jack Saunderson this weekend at the Men's #NCAASwimDive title meet. Do work, Jack! What a career, Precious Hall, what a career. The Commish and Precious Hall are ready for tonight's #WNIT third round game. The Dukes tip vs. Nova at 7pm It was a @cofcsports sweep of #CAAGolfers of the Week. Shouts to seniors Laura Fuenfstueck & William Rainey 🏌⛳👍