The UMass Dartmouth men’s lacrosse team has earned its second straight and 18th overall berth in the Little East Conference Championships, as the fourth-seeded Corsairs begin their quest for the 2019 league title on Tuesday evening by welcoming fifth-seeded Eastern Connecticut to Cressy Field for tournament quarterfinal round action at 7:30 pm EDT.
Head Coach Ryan Murphy has guided his squad to post-season appearances in each of his first two campaigns at the helm, as the former Springfield standout led UMass Dartmouth to seven overall victories in the regular season that included an even 4-4 mark in Little East play. Since 1998, the Corsairs have played in either the Little East, Pilgrim League or ECAC Division III tournaments in all but three seasons.
Junior attack Donovan Prozinski (Ashland, Mass./Ashland) leads the Corsairs in scoring with 42 goals and 26 assists for 68 points, as he ranks third in the league in points and fourth in goals. Sophomore midfielder Tim Jordan (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) and junior attack Mike Rizzo (Bridgewater, Mass./Bridgewater-Raynham) follow with respective totals of 43 and 42 points, while freshman attack Kevin Swenson (Ipswich, Mass./Ipswich) has impressed during his rookie collegiate campaign with 17 goals and 13 assists for 30 points.
Sophomore Sawyer Gibbons (Sandwich, Mass./Sturgis East) has controlled the faceoff circle for Murphy’s squad with 79 wins and a team-leading 95 ground balls, and he also leads UMass Dartmouth with 31 caused turnovers to date. Freshman Alexi Fauzey (Charlestown, R.I./Chariho Regional) has also shined in the middle with 10 points and 22 caused turnovers for the Corsairs, who have received veteran leadership on the defensive side from senior Matt Clement (Bridgewater, Mass./Bridgewater-Raynham).
Junior Ted McCaffery (Pepperell, Mass./Bishop Guertin) has been a solid last line of defense for the Corsairs, as he ranks third in the conference in both saves (176) and goals against average (10.13) as well as fourth in saves percentage (.535). McCaffery has reached double digits in saves on 10 occasions to date, including a season-high 17 stops on April 10th against Massachusetts Maritime.
UMass Dartmouth and Eastern Connecticut will meet for the second time in a week with Tuesday’s quarterfinal round clash, as the Warriors of first-year Head Coach Marc Graham also finished with seven overall wins and a 4-4 slate in Little East action. Senior Matthew Rougeot and sophomore Jake Leibowitz pace Eastern Connecticut in scoring with respective totals of 49 and 44 points, while junior Jack Farrell has posted an 11.11 goals against average and made 171 saves for a .529 saves percentage.
In last Tuesday’s match-up, Prozinski propelled the Corsairs to an 11-5 win with six goals and seven total points, as the triumph was just UMass Dartmouth’s third in 27 all-time meetings with the Warriors. Tuesday’s contest marks the first post-season contest between the two teams since the 2014 campaign, as Eastern Connecticut notched a 9-7 win in the league semifinal round five years ago.
The winner of the UMass Dartmouth-Eastern Connecticut quarterfinal advances to face top-seeded Keene State in the Little East semifinals on Friday, May 3rd, as the regular season Owls will host the conference “Final Four”. Tuesday other quarterfinal clash will see third-seeded Western Connecticut host sixth-seeded UMass Boston, with the winner squaring off with second-seeded Plymouth State in Friday’s semifinal round. The two semifinals victories will meet for the 2019 Little East crown on Saturday, May 4th and the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Championships.
Live stats and video links for Tuesday’s quarterfinal round contest will be available at www.corsairathletics.com. For more information on the 2019 Little East Men’s Lacrosse Championships, please visit www.littleeast.com.