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Men's Lacrosse Makes Postseason Debut at #17 Roanoke

Men's Lacrosse Makes Postseason Debut at #17 Roanoke

SALEM, Va. – The Bridgewater College men's lacrosse team faces a steep challenge in their first-ever ODAC playoff game at #17 Roanoke, but the Eagles will look to create extra possessions in the midfield and convert chances in their postseason debut.

The Eagles will play at Roanoke on Tuesday at 7 p.m. after everything finally came together for the sixth-year program on Saturday. Bridgewater got the result they needed elsewhere in the league (Randolph-Macon beating Guilford), and routed Randolph 23-6 at home to clinch the spot.

Bridgewater had been so close to the playoffs the past two years- missing out due to a one-goal Shenandoah comeback win over Randolph-Macon in 2017, and in 2016 because of a pair of one-goal losses to Randolph and RMC.

Roanoke dominated the scoreline in the regular season meeting between these teams, scoring 20 unanswered goals in a 25-4 final, but the signs of a competitive performance from the Eagles were there. Most notably Bridgewater won 21-of-30 faceoffs, and by taking better care of the ball BC can make it a game if they can create those extra possessions again.

The key will be freshman Mason Gauntt, who has moved into an even larger role on faceoffs after an injury to Tyler Nieto. Gauntt, who was 15-of-19 against Roanoke and set a new school single game record with 13 ground balls against Randolph, ranks second in the conference in faceoffs won (164) and fourth in ground balls (64).

Gauntt is aided by an exceptional defensive midfield group that makes BC even better on faceoffs. Returning All-ODAC and All-State LSM Jake Truman ranks among the top-20 in the ODAC in both ground balls and caused turnovers, and senior defensive middies Edward Martin III and James Georgoff bring significant experience.

While Bridgewater did not have a particularly close game this spring against one of the conference's four national powers (Roanoke, Washington & Lee, Hampden-Sydney and Lynchburg), they did play three of those teams close last spring- including a Roanoke game where they did not trail until the final six minutes of the second quarter. Sean MacLeish had a hat trick in that matchup, and is third on the team in scoring this season with 37 points.

Blake Mann is third in the conference in goals with 49, while freshman Eric Husselbaugh (33 goals, 12 assists) has given Bridgewater another talented option on the attack.

Roanoke has four All-Americans on the roster, including two-time selections IV Stucker and Conn Curry. Stucker has 24 goals and 25 assists on the year, while Curry has 20 caused turnovers.

Kevin Sarro was the ODAC Rookie of the Year and a USILA All-American last season, and leads Roanoke in scoring this spring with 31 goals and a conference-best 39 assists.

The defense also includes Robby Moore (19 caused turnovers, 47 ground balls), an honorable mention All-American in 2016. Goalie Ian Davies leads the ODAC in both saves (187) and save percentage (59.9).

Tuesday night's winner will face Hampden-Sydney (who is receiving votes in the top-20 poll) in the semifinals on Friday, with the final four being hosted by top-seed and 12th-ranked Washington & Lee.