The regular season champion Capital University men's lacrosse team is set to host fourth-seeded John Carroll University, Wednesday, April 29, in the first round of the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament. The winner the 5 p.m. match at Bernlohr Stadium will go on to the OAC Tournament championship game to compete for the tournament title and an automatic berth to the 2015 NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Tournament.
PREVIEWING JOHN CARROLL (9-6 overall, 3-3 OAC)
John Carroll began their season losing three of their first four games of the 2015 season, but turned it around by winning six of their next seven. Of the Blue Streaks' six losses this season, four have been by one goal, two of those have been in overtime and zero of their losses have been by more than three goals. They are 2-2 in their last four games, including a 10-8 loss to Capital at Bernlohr Stadium on April 18.
The Blue Streaks are led by Declan O'Grady, who is third in the OAC with 41 goals, and Collin Rice, who leads the league in assists (27). Rice is also in the top-50 in the nation for assists per game (1.80). Rice recorded two assists in the team's most recent meeting with Capital, while O'Grady scored four goals and one assist in the loss.
Kyle Patterson will hit the X and is 174-for-294 (.592) on faceoffs this season in addition to leading the team with 69 ground balls. Jack MacLean is close behind him with 56 ground balls and is second of the team with 16 caused turnovers. The leader in that category is Tommy Adolf, who possesses 31 CTs.
Another Kyle who will hear his name called often is goalkeeper Kyle Lake. Lake is third in the conference in saves (145), fourth in save percentage (.556) and fourth in goals-against average (8.18). He made six saves, had four ground balls and three caused turnovers against Capital two weeks ago. After allowing 10 goals to the Crusaders, he has surrendered just nine total in his next two games to finish the regular season.
While John Carroll has a propensity for close games, they also have the most overtime games among teams in the OAC with three. In those three games, they are 1-2 with their lone OT win coming against Mount Union, 8-7. Their other overtime games came against Randolph-Macon College (L, 7-6) and Otterbein (l, 10-9).
Last year, John Carroll went 13-4 overall and 3-2 in OAC play. They advanced to the OAC Championship match as the #3 seed, but lost to Otterbein, 13-8.
The Capital Crusaders have enjoyed a magical season, winning the Ohio Athletic Conference regular season championship, outright, in just the second year of the program's existence. With their unblemished 6-0 conference record, they retain the number-one overall seed in the OAC Men's Lacrosse Tournament.
A few injuries to some key young players plus an opening day loss to Kenyon College (11-2) made the season forecast for the Crusaders uncertain, but they jumped right back into play with an 8-3 win over Mount St. Joseph's and finished the season 12-1 overall. They recorded 15 or more goals five times and 20 or more twice. They are currently on an eight-match winning streak, a new program best and their last three games have been true tests of endurance for the tournament.
Freshman sensation Brennan O'Callaghan has led the club since debuting in the lineup in the third game of the season. O'Callaghan current leads the league with 60 goals and 71 points. He has also scored the eighth-most man-up goals (5) this season. He and sophomore Brent Walton, who also debuted the season against Oberlin, have created a tandem that accounts for 88 of the team's 182 goals and 28 of their 99 assists. Freshman Carson Paull is on a tear, having scored seven goals in his last three games and at least one in his last five games. O'Callaghan is #1 in the country in goals per game (4.62) and #4 in points per game.
Between the pipes, freshman Cole Palmby has been doing a job keep the ball out of the net, saving 58.5 percent of shots taken against him and allowing an average of 6.47 goals per game. Both of those marks rank him second in the OAC. Sophomore defenseman Tate Stover is in the nation's top-25 for caused turnovers, averaging 2.50 per game. He and fellow defensemen Nick Bonsignore and Dylan Bishop are all inside the top-10 in the conference.
Last year, Capital narrowly missed the playoffs in their first year having gone 8-6 overall and 1-4 in the OAC season.
Quarterfinals/Semifinals/Finals - $7
OAC Student with valid ID - Free
Non-OAC Students 18 years and under - $2
Senior 62 years and older - $5
OAC Lifetime Passes will be honored for all championships (regular-season passes will not)