NCAA Tournament Preview: Western New England Travels to No. 10 Wesleyan for Second Round Matchup

Photo by Rachael Margossian
Photo by Rachael Margossian

NCAA Interactive Bracket | Wesleyan Preview

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (May 7, 2019) – The Western New England University men's lacrosse team will open the 2019 NCAA Tournament with a second round contest at No. 10 nationally ranked Wesleyan University on Wednesday afternoon at Jackson Field in Middletown, Conn. with opening faceoff set for 4:30 p.m.

How They Got Here
Western New England (14-5) captured its eighth Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title and earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after defeating Curry College and Endicott College last Tuesday and Friday in the semifinals and championship, respectively. The Golden Bears went a perfect 8-0 in CCC play during the regular season on their way to the top seed in the CCC Tournament.

Wesleyan (12-3) received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament after falling to Middlebury in the NESCAC quarterfinals on Saturday. The Cardinals went 8-2 in league play during the regular season and had won five in a row leading into Saturday's playoff defeat to the Panthers.

NCAA Tournament Experience
Western New England is appearing in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season and tenth time overall with a record of 7-9 in 16 contests. The Golden Bears made their inaugural trip to the national tournament in 2002 under first-year head coach John Klepacki. Klepacki has guided Western New England to nine NCAA playoff appearances since then, with the Golden Bears reaching the quarterfinals four times (2007-09, 2013).

Wesleyan is making is third consecutive and seventh overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament, all under head coach John Raba. The Cardinals, who are 14-5 all-time in the national postseason, have made consecutive trips to the Final Four, winning the program's first national title last spring at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.

Series History
Wesleyan owns an 11-0 advantage in the all-time series with Western New England, which began in 1990. The last meeting between the two programs came in 2006, a 13-5 Cardinal victory.

Statistical Leaders

Western New England
Jared Ward (A) | 80 points (45 goals, 35 assists)
Mike Bannon (A) | 60 points (26 goals, 34 assists)
Matt Greer (M) | 55 points (17 goals, 38 assists)
John Shahpazian (M) | 49 points (42 goals, 7 assists)
Mitch Weiss (D) | 62 ground balls, 14 caused turnovers
Oskar Djusberg (D) | 47 ground balls, 8 caused turnovers
Hunter Cocks (FO) | 280-426 (.657), 177 ground balls, 12 points (7 goals, 5 assists)
Sean McCusker (G) | 11.33 GAA, 48.4 SV %

Wesleyan
Ronan Jacoby (A) | 54 points (46 goals, 8 assists)
Carter Hawthorne (A) | 44 points (16 goals, 28 assists)
Colin Uyeki (A) | 40 points (27 goals, 13 assists)
Colin Malarchuk (D) | 50 ground balls, 37 caused turnovers
Thomas Clejan (D) | 48 ground balls, 17 caused turnovers
Zach Zavalick (FO) | 112-188 (.596), 70 ground balls
Otto Bohan (G) | 8.52 GAA, 60.1 SV %

Common Opponents
Western New England and Wesleyan have played four common opponents this season – Clark, Amherst, Bates and Williams. The Golden Bears went 1-3 in those contests, defeating Clark (17-10) but falling to Amherst (16-11), Bates (20-8) and Williams (19-7). The Cardinals posted a 2-2 record against the same competition, with wins over Williams (14-12) and Clark (13-6) and losses to Bates (15-12) and Amherst (14-9).

Up Next
The winner of Wednesday's contest advances to the third round of the NCAA Tournament to take on the winner of the Amherst-Elizabethtown matchup on Saturday, May 11.