May 9, 2006
BEVERLY, MA - The Endicott College men's lacrosse team will be hosting its first NCAA Division III Tournament contest Wednesday afternoon (4:00 PM) when its faces off against St. Lawrence University. However, the Gulls are no strangers to the NCAA tourney.
Endicott, which is currently 14-4 this season, is 1-2 lifetime in NCAA Tournament action. The Gulls advanced to the second round of last year's NCAA tourney, losing to Middlebury College in a close game. The Panthers went on to reach the NCAA Final.
EC has never faced the Saints (13-3), who punched their first ticket to the tourney since 1987. However, the two teams do have some things in common. Both faced Bowdoin College and New England College this spring. Both team defeated NEC - Endicott won 22-3 while SLU defeated the Pilgrims 16-3. The Gulls also beat Bowdoin, 6-5, but the Saints lost to the Polar Bears, 8-7.
While St. Lawrence, which earned an automatic bid after winning the Liberty League Tournament, doesn't have a dominant scorer, it does possess four players with 30 points or more. Andy Centauro leads the club with 21 goals and 39 points while Kevin Russell (15 goals) also has 39 points. Ben Prime and Peter Carroll each have netted 23 goals and Nick Mastine has 22 tallies this spring.
Perhaps the biggest SLU strength is in between the pipes where Justin Demuth has started every game, allowing just 6.33 goals per game in 833 minutes played. He is among the NCAA's best in both categories. This may be in fact where the game will be won or lost.
The Gulls also have a stellar netminder in senior Ryan Walsh (Weymouth, MA/Weymouth), who owns a 7.49 goals against average in 824 minutes played. Walsh ranks 25th in the nation in GAA and stands eighth in the country in save percentage (.652). And he is the leader of a defense that ranks 21st in scoring defense (6.83 goals per game allowed).
Senior midfielder Kevin Lally (Derry, NH/Pinkerton Academy) is the quarterback of the Endicott offense, which is one of the very best offenses in all of Division III. The Gulls are fourth ranked scoring offense in the NCAA, converting 14.61 goals per contest and Lally is the top set up man in the country, both this season and all-time.
Lally, who was named the Commonwealth Coast Conference Offensive Player of the Year, has a nation-best 73 helpers this season and 367 career assists. His favorite target is fellow senior Burt Fahy (Needham, MA/Needham), who is third in the country in goals per game (3.56) and fifth in the nation in points per game, averaging 4.83 this spring.
Junior crease attackman Josh Gilbert (Simsbury, CT/Simsbury) is third on the team in scoring with 45 goals, which averages out to rank 45th in the country per game. Freshman Brandon Dube (Danvers, MA/Danvers) and senior Parker Sowles (Cumberland, ME/Kents Hill) have combined to score 43 goals between them while junior Dan Ryan (Billerica, MA/Billerica) has 21 goals and freshman Eddie O'Reilly (Beverly, MA/Beverly) has posted 16 goals and 10 assists for the Gulls.
The complete NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Bracket is linked below.