ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- To become King of the Mountain, you usually need to defeat the king.
Today, the No. 5-ranked Williams College men's lacrosse team (17-3) will attempt to do just that when it takes on No. 1-ranked Rochester Institute of Technology (20-1) in an NCAA Div. III Tournament quarterfinal at the Tigers' Turf Field. Game time is 5 p.m. You can watch the game live HERE or, if in Williamstown, catch it live at the Log on Spring Street. Live stats can be followed HERE.
The Ephs come in having already set a single-season Williams record for wins in a season with 17. Their NCAA victories in the second (Keene State) and third round (St. John Fisher) were the first NCAA Tournament victories in the 91-year history of the men's lacrosse program.
RIT, which is making its 10th straight and 21st overall NCAA Tournament appearance, comes in averaging 16.86 goals per contest while the Ephs are averaging 15.20. The Tigers have three 40-goal scorers in Shawn Nally, the 2019 Liberty League Offensive Player of the Year, who has 44 goals and 33 assists; Ryan Barnstable who has 42 goals and 31 assist for 73 points; and Cam Isaac, who has 41 goals and 17 assists for 58 points.
Williams counters with three 50-goal scorers of its own in sophomore Cory Lund, whose 63 goals broke the single-season school record of 58 set by John Moorhead in 2001; junior Kevin Stump, who has 55 goals and 22 assists for 77 points and junior Brendan Hoffman, who has 51 goals and 19 assists for 70 points. Prior to this season, Williams had not had a 50-goal scorer in a single-season since Moorhead in 2001. In addition, first-year Jake Haase has topped Moorhead's single-season point total record with his total of 93 (62 assists, 31 goals) to date.
RIT is second in the country with 230 assists and eighth, converting 48.2 percent (40-of-83) of their man-up chances. Defensively, RIT is 14th in Division III, allowing 7.76 goals per contest. The Tigers lead Division III with 942 ground balls, averaging 44.86 per game. RIT has won 61.6 percent of its face-offs, caused 226 turnovers, and allowed 22 man-up goals in 83 chances.
The Ephs enter today's game allowing 10.33 goals per contest. They have allowed 10 or fewer goals nine times, including 21 man-up goals. Williams had garnered 711 ground balls, 35.56 per game, and has won 56.6 percent of its face-offs and has 159 caused turnovers. Sophomore Harry Gahagan enters Wednesday with a 17-3 record in 2019 with a 10.07 goals against average and a .534 save percentage. Rock Stewart leads the Ephs with 36 caused turnovers, while Alex Kitt has won 248 face-offs this season and leads Williams with 132 ground balls.
The winner of Wednesday's quarterfinal will advance to the national semifinals and will play the winner between No. 3 Tufts University and No. 7 Amherst College on Sunday, May 19.