Written by Sports Information Student Assistant, Jake Sipes-Salter
HANOVER, Ind. - The Hanover men's lacrosse team will look to bolster its hot start as it hosts two non-conference opponents over the weekend.
The Panthers will play host to the Fontbonne (Mo.) Griffins at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 23, before tackling Westminster (Pa.) at 1 p.m., Sunday, March 24.
PANTHERS RIGHT NOW: The Blue and Red are 4-3 in 2019 with a 1-1 mark in the Heartland Collegiate Lacrosse Conference. Hanover is coming off its first HCLC victory after they garnered an 18-4 decision over Earlham on March 17. Senior Bret Schell (Dayton, Ohio) had two goals and four assists for six points on the day, while going 18-of-19 in faceoffs.
For his performance against Earlham., junior midfielder Noah King (Lexington, Ky.) earned HCLC Offensive Player of the Week, as he tallied five scores and three dimes to tie a career-high of eight points in a single game On the year, King leads the HCLC with 27 points and 15 assists, and is amongst the league leaders with 12 goals. In NCAA Division III, King also ranks toward the top in assists per game (2.14) and points per game (3.86).
THE MIDDLE MEN: King, Schell and junior Dallas Fonner (Evansville, Ind.) have all been consistent contributors on the field this season. Schell has scored in five of six matchups for HC this year, with two six-point appearances against Adrian (Mich.) and Earlham. Against Adrian, Schell hit the back of the net five times, added a helper, and went 15-of-23 from the faceoff "x". For 2019, Schell has 21 points on 11 scores and 10 dimes.
As for Fonner, he has now scored a point in 23 consecutive contests. In 2019, he has eight goals and seven assists for 15 points, with two scores coming in the Earlham triumph. Fonner also caused two turnovers in action against the Quakers while grabbing a season-high four groundballs.
ATTACK SPEED: Sophomores Ian Kimmins (Dayton, Ohio) and Jackson Wheeler (Indianapolis, Ind.) have led the attackers in scoring this season with 21 and 12 points, respectively. Kimmins has 18 scores and three helpers, with with the latter total sitting second in the HCLC. In recent memory, Kimmins had six points against Kean (NJ) on March 16, as he hit the back of the net four times and added two dimes.
Wheeler, meanwhile, has posted scores in six of seven contests this year and seven of eight dating back to 2018. Just seven games into 2019, Wheeler has nine goals and three assists for 12 points after having nine and four for 13 points his freshman campaign. In his last showing against Earlham, Wheeler had two scores and a helper to aid in the 18-4 win.
THE DEFENSIVE FRONT: The defense is headed by a trio of juniors in Eric Clay (Wilmington, Del.), Andrew Trachtman (Carmel, Ind.), and Noah Dubrava (Centerville, Ohio). Clay is second in the HCLC with 12 caused turnovers, and has forced one or more giveaways in each of the last three games. In the Hanover victory against Earlham, Clay had two caused turnovers and corralled eight groundballs to aid the defense.
Trachtman is among the top five in the conference with 10 caused turnovers along with senior Al Alessia (Crown Point, Ind.). Trachtman has caused a giveaway in six of his last seven appearances, and he has two caused turnovers in each of the Panthers' four triumphs in 2019.
As for Dubrava, he has maintained his status as one of the top statistical goalkeepers in the HCLC. He has four starts of double-digit saves in his last five, including 18 against the Kean Cougars. In total, his 75 saves, 11.13 goals allowed average, and .564 save percentage are all among the league's top three in their respective categories. Moreover, Dubrava ranks among the NCAA DIII leaders in goals allowed average and save percentage.
SCOUTING FONTBONNE: The Fontbonne Griffins are 0-5 to start 2019. Senior Brian Nguyen and junior Michael Picciolo have 10 points to pace the Griffins. The Blue and Red have squared off against Fontbonne five times in program history, with the first being the Hanover men's lacrosse program's inaugural contest on Feb. 27, 2011. In their last two meetings in 2014 and 2015, the Panthers came out ahead of the Griffins, but Fontbonne holds a 3-2 series lead.
SCOUTING WESTMINSTER: The Westminster Titans are currently 3-3 after going 6-8 in 2018. A former member of the Ohio River Lacrosse Conference and consequently a former conference rival of Hanover, these teams have seen one another three times over the same amount of years. Their most recent clash came on April 7, 2018, when Dubrava made 16 saves as HC came out on top of a defensive 6-4 outing.
UP NEXT: Hanover will take to the turf once more at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 30, as they will engage in a neutral-site battle at Park Tudor High School, in Indianapolis, Ind., against North Central College (Ill.).
Contact: Tyler Jester