UMF takes on top seed in NAC Quarterfinals
FARMINGTON, Maine -- The University of Maine at Farmington men's lacrosse team is seeded eighth in the North Atlantic Conference Tournament and the Beavers are slated to face No. 1 New England College Saturday in the quarterfinals at 1 p.m.
NEC is offering live stats during the game.
First-year head coach Jon Evan said this season has been the "proverbial rollercoaster ride." Despite being amidst a five-game skid, Evan said the team is "playing its best lacrosse" since an April 15 8-6 loss at Johnson State College.
"We have been solid defensively and in goal all year, but the offense is really gelling now with great chemistry," said Evan. "It has been a learning process for everyone, new coaching staff, new system, new players. I give a lot of credit to the leadership of our group for keeping us on an even keel, and staying the course."
Junior attacker Brandon Melville (Farmington, Maine) leads the team in points with 22 (18 goals, four assists, while junior attacker Matt Roy (Kents Hill), UMF's career leader in assists) has 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) and sophomore midfielder Tennessee Peters (Scarborough, Maine) has 12 goals and three helpers.
Sophomores Hunter Rowell (West Paris, Maine) and Ben Altmaier (Wilton, Maine) have spent time in goal as well as senior Aaron Burr (Brooklyn, Conn.). Rowell has handled the bulk of the responsibilities with a 11.32 goals-against average in nine starts.
Defensively, sophomore Mike Foley (Byfield, Mass.) leads the squad with 55 ground balls and 21 caused turnovers, while freshman David Cram (Northbridge, Mass.) has 52 ground balls and has forced 17 turnovers.
The Pilgrims (9-6, 8-0) blanked UMF 18-0 on April 14 in Henniker, N.H. Steve Parsons led NEC with four goals and two assists as the Pilgrims outshot the Beavers 60-1 in the contest.
Brian Gillis leads NEC with 41 goals and 20 assists followed by Parsons (27 goals, 14 assists), James Putney (25-21) and Sam Freihofner (24-14).
Nick Acquaviva has started all 14 games in goal for the Pilgrims with a 6.92 GAA, while Pat Miles has caused 38 turnovers and Jake Flynn has a team-best 83 ground balls.
"We are not focused as much on the jersey as letting the game be the opponent," said Evan. "We just played one of the four top teams in the conference (Maine Maritime Academy) and competed with them for four quarters, so we will look to do the same against another top team. We have been relatively healthy all year so we will look to use our numbers to our advantage. We will play our roster and play our best lacrosse and see what results that nets us."
In the other NAC quarterfinals, two-time defending champion No. 2 Castleton State College (9-7, 7-1) hosts No. 7 Thomas College (4-10, 3-5) tonight, No. 3 Husson University (10-7, 6-2) hosts No. 6 Lyndon State College (3-6, 3-5) and No. 4 Maine Maritime (5-8, 5-3) hosts fifth seed Johnson State College (4-8, 3-5) in the other quarterfinal matchup Saturday.
Winners will advance to the semifinals held at the higher seed on Wednesday. Semifinal winners will meet Saturday, May 5 at the highest remaining seed.
The NAC Champion receives an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Championship.