Men’s Lacrosse: #4 Norwich vs. #5 Mount Ida – GNAC Quarterfinal Preview

Men’s Lacrosse: #4 Norwich vs. #5 Mount Ida – GNAC Quarterfinal Preview

WEDNESDAY'S STORYLINE: #4 Norwich hosts #5 Mount Ida in a rematch of the 2013 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship game. The two teams, who have met in both of the last two league finals, will play Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. in the earliest round of the tournament.

Norwich won the regular season game between the two schools on Saturday, April 12 by a score of 10-5. Senior Ian Mendoza (Mount Airy, Md.) recorded a hat-trick in the win for Norwich, while Mike Markevich scored twice for the Mustangs.

All-time, the Mustangs are 4-3 against the Cadets—but Norwich has won the last three games, including this season's regular season game and both the 2013 GNAC championship and regular season meetings.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Norwich won seven league games, including the last four, to clinch the fourth seed in this year's tournament.  The Cadets' three league losses came to the top three seeds—Emmanuel, Lasell, and Becker.

The Mustangs' regular season loss to the Cadets was the decision-maker in the battle for the fourth seed, as Mount Ida also fell to Lasell, Emmanuel and Becker en route to a 6-4 league record.

THE COACHES: Neal Anderson is in his sixth season as the head coach of the Norwich lacrosse team. A two-time GNAC Coach of the Year, Anderson has led the Cadets to four straight GNAC postseason appearances, including two-straight GNAC championship appearances and the program's first championship title last season.

Mount Ida head coach Andrew Fink is in his 11th season as the helm of the program. He has compiled an overall record of 129-63 and has led the Mustangs to eight conference championships, two of them since the Mustangs joined the GNAC in 2011. Last season, Fink led the Mustangs to an 11-8 record, including an 8-1 GNAC mark and helped them reach the GNAC title game for the third consecutive year. 

ABOUT THE CADETS: The Norwich senior class has advanced to the postseason in each of their four years with the program. This year, senior Ian Mendoza has reclaimed his role as the leading scorer, and has totaled a team-best 28 goals. Junior Seth Fuller (Wheaton, Ill.) leads the team in points, as he has a team-best 15 assists and 20 goals for 35 points. Sophomore Mike Lavery (Penacook, N.H.) has added 17 goals and six assists, while senior Ian Thomas (Barrington, R.I.) had scored 10 goals with six assists in just nine games played.

Senior Andrew Dustin (Canterbury, N.H.) paces the Norwich midfield with a team-best 71 ground balls. The Cadets' face-off specialist, junior Andrew Bracy (Carthage, N.Y.), has won 106 face-offs in 176 tries, good for a .602 winning percentage. In conference play, Bracy's winning rate jumps to 70.8 percent (76-103).

Defensively, a Norwich trifecta of junior Peter Troiano (Winchester, Mass.), senior Zach Maysonet (Clark, N.J.), and Timothy Seibert (Ephrata, Pa.) is responsible for over 40 percent of Norwich's 124 caused turnovers.  Troiano leads the team with 20.

Senior netminder Mark Paradiso (Westford, Mass.) has started 12 games in net this season and has totaled 120 saves in 223 shots faced for a .538 save percentage. He holds a goals-against average of 7.95 this season.

ABOUT THE MUSTANGS: Mike Markevich leads Mount Ida with a team-best 25 goals this season and has three assists for 28 total points. Zach Rosen is the Mustangs' points leader with 36 from 20 goals and 16 assists, while Chad Coehlo has 13 goals and a team-best 17 assists for a second-best 30 points.

Corey Gelbstein leads the Mustangs on the ground with a team-best 56 ground balls. Erik Berman has won 92 face-offs in 181 tries for a .508 winning percentage.

Defensively, the Mustangs are paced by Kyle Fernitz, with a team-high 25 caused turnovers. Chaz Strom trails closely with 24 caused turnovers.

Mustangs goaltender Kyle Cordaro has started 15 of 16 contests for Mount Ida this spring. He is three away from 200 saves on the season and holds a .646 save percentage, which ranks him third amongst GNAC goaltenders. Opponents have scored 108 goals on him this season, giving him a 7.79 goals-against average.

WINNER ADVANCES: The winner of Wednesday's game will advance to the GNAC Semifinals and will face the winner of the No. 1 Emmanuel/No. 8 Johnson & Wales game. The game will be played at the home of the higher seed on Friday, April 25.