NEWTON, Mass. – For the second consecutive season, Mount Ida College and Johnson & Wales University will meet in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's lacrosse postseason. The #2 seed Mustangs and the third-seeded Wildcats will face-off on Thursday at 6:00 pm at Alumni Field in the semifinals.
How They Got Here
Mount Ida (13-4, 7-1 GNAC) is in the midst of a program-record seven-game winning streak, and earned themselves the #2 seed and an automatic spot in the semifinals for the second time in the last three years. The Mustangs came one goal shy of an undefeated season in the GNAC, falling 11-10 against Lasell in their only conference loss of the year. Since that game, they have won home games against Dean, Norwich, Emmanuel and Saint Joseph's Maine, while earning road victories at JWU, Anna Maria and Rivier.
The Wildcats (12-6, 5-3 GNAC) have won three straight, most recently a 17-14 victory over Rivier University in the GNAC Quarterfinals, booking their spot against Mount Ida. A 7-1 second quarter against the Raiders helped the Wildcats seize control of their First Round contest, and they rode eight points from Eric Russo (West Grove, Pa.) and six points from Max Stone (Burlington, Conn.) to their second straight semifinals appearance.
Scouting the Mustangs
Senior Chad Coehlo (Salem, Mass.) is part of a diverse Mount Ida attack that has scored 206 goals, second only to their opponents, as JWU has tallied 225 times this year, through one more game.
Coehlo has 30 goals and 31 assists this year, and is one of six Mustangs with 20+ goals this season, led by Peter Hardy (Tyngsboro, Mass.), who scored 34 times and joined the 100 point club with six goals in his Senior Day performance against Saint Joe's Maine.
Sophomore Kyle Ton (Norwich, Conn.) and junior Marcus Donahue (Braintree, Mass.) have each taken advantage of increased playing time this year, with Ton scoring 42 points on 27 goals and 15 assists and Donahue with 25 goals.
Alex Zito (Andover, Conn.) leads the conference with 218 face-offs won and has collected 121 ground balls, good for third in the GNAC.
The Mustangs also boast senior defenseman Alex Veloukas (Salem, Mass.), who has drawn the opponent's top offensive players this year and has caused 29 turnovers.
Junior Cam Hayward (Derry, N.H.) has figured in the decision for all of Mount Ida's games this year, and leads the GNAC with an 8.03 goals against average. Hayward is also second in the conference with a 61.3 save percentage and is third with 204 total saves.
Scouting the Wildcats
Russo is at the top of the GNAC with 72 points on 32 goals and a team-high 40 assists, while Stone has paced the Wildcats and leads the conference with 53 goals this season.
Hunter Guzzo (Wantage, N.J.) will square off with Zito at the face-off dot. Guzzo has gone 203-331 and has a team-high 78 ground balls.
In the net for the Wildcats will be freshman Bradley Morris (Bayport, N.Y.), who has a record of 10-5 on the year and has posted a save percentage of 57.9 and a goals against average of 10.3.
The Mustangs are 3-2 all-time against Johnson & Wales and 1-1 in home games. Three of their matchups have been decided by one goal, including Mount Ida's 9-8 win in Providence on April 18th of this year, and a 10-9 overtime winner a season ago in Newton for the Wildcats.
JWU ended Mount Ida's season in last year's GNAC First Round with a 14-9 victory in Providence.
Up ahead for the winner of this game will be a spot in Saturday's championship contest, which will be either at #1 seed Lasell or against #4 seed Norwich.
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