Midseason ECC Lacrosse Update

Once cloudy at the onset, the ECC lacrosse picture is becoming much clearer now that the midpoint of the season has passed.

On the women's side, usual suspects C.W. Post and Dowling currently sit atop the conference standings, while talented squads Mercy, Molly and Seton Hill all loom within striking distance. Meanwhile, on the men's side, a total of five teams currently stand with either one or two losses in ECC play. And with a handful of conference games left on the schedule, it's evident that the ECC title is still up for grabs on both fronts.

This week's ECC Lacrosse Insider takes a look at some of the top storylines of the 2011 season to date, reveals the top remaining games of the year to circle on the calendar, plus details which contenders have the toughest road to the championship between now and May 8.

Men's Lacrosse

Most shocking ECC upset of the season: Chestnut Hill over Mercyhurst, 8-7 in OT, March 13.

After a 4-11 inaugural campaign in 10, Chestnut Hill (5-4, 2-4 ECC) was certainly not expected to topple a veteran Mercyhurst (13-1 in '10) team in the squad's second game of the season. But the upstart Griffins defied the odds and showcased why they should be considered an ECC title contender in '11. The Griffins overcame a three-goal deficit on two separate occasions on the day, including a 5-2 score midway through the third quarter. After Mercyhurst (7-2, 5-2) midfielder Andy Winslow tallied the equalizer with 12 seconds left in regulation, Chestnut Hill freshman Mike Landau scored the game-winner with 2:46 remaining in overtime, sending the home team into a frenzy and creating shockwaves across the Division II landscape.

Biggest ECC win to date: C.W. Post over Mercyhurst, 4-3, on April 9.

With its third consecutive win over Mercyhurst, C.W. Post (11-1, 4-1) remained in the driver's seat of the ECC standings while sending a potent Lakers squad to its second conference loss of the year. Now, facing opponents with a combined record of 23-26 the rest of the way, the Pioneers will be the favorites to claim their third-straight ECC title. Team defense has been a strong point all season for the Pioneers and proved to be the difference against Mercyhurst last weekend. Behind goalie Mike Giordano and a formidable unit, C.W. Post has yet to allow more than 8 goals in a game this season.

Top overall conference game of the season: Dowling over C.W. Post, 8-7 in OT, March 26.

Nearly a carbon copy result of when these two teams met in '10, Dowling once again posted another thrilling victory over C.W. Post, this time an 8-7 victory in overtime. The loss was just the third overall for the Pioneers in the last three seasons, with two coming at the hands of the Golden Lions. This time around, Dowling (8-2, 4-2) bounced back from an early two-goal deficit to go up 5-3 at intermission and then 7-5 late in the fourth. However, an experienced C.W. Post team proved clutch in the waning moments of regulation, tallying two goals in the final 31 seconds to ice the game at 7-7. But Dowling would have the last say as midfielder Louis Riley scored the game-winner just 12 seconds into overtime. Not a bad time to score your first-ever collegiate goal.

Most important match-up still on the schedule: C.W. Post vs. Mercy, April 23.

Come April 23, both Mercy (9-1, 5-1) and C.W. Post will likely enter this highly anticipated game with just one conference loss to their record. Quite simply, the winner of his match-up could very well come away with the ECC crown in '11. The stakes will be especially high for Mercy with tough tilts against Seton Hill (5-4) and Dowling still to come. Experience could play a factor in this high stakes match-up, but that hasn't stopped Mercy from winning 9 of 10 games so far in just its second season. Meanwhile, C.W. Post looks to avoid its first two-loss season since '08 and can take command of the conference with a victory.

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2011-04-13



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