Panthers to host North Central in neutral site contest in Indy

Dirk Meinhart

Written by Sports Information Student Assistant, Jake Sipes-Salter

HANOVER, Ind. - The Hanover men's lacrosse team will look to carry its positive momentum through the weekend in action versus North Central College (Ill.) at Park Tudor High School in Indianapolis, Ind., with game time scheduled for 1 p.m., Saturday, March 30.

MIDSEASON MARK: The Panthers are currently 6-3 overall, with a 1-1 mark in the Heartland Collegiate Lacrosse Conference. The Blue and Red are riding a three-game win streak, with two coming this past week over Fontbonne (Mo.) and Westminster (Pa.). In recent action against the Titans on March 24, HC came back from a five-score deficit to tie it up with less than five seconds on the clock, and eventually won in triple overtime. 14-13.

As a unit, Hanover is posting top 50 national statistics in total assists, assists per game, shot percentage and total groundballs. The Panthers have accumulated 72 assists on their 108 goals, effectively meaning that two of every three scores has been assisted on. Over nine matchups, this averages to eight helpers per showing. In shooting, the Blue and Red are rifling shots off at a .329 clip. Defensively, HC has scooped up 330 groundballs, the 30th-highest total in Division III.

CLAY WINS HCLC POTW: For his part in both contests last week, junior Eric Clay (Wilmington, Del.) garnered his second career conference Defensive Player of the Week award. Over the two-game stretch, Clay caused four turnovers and corralled 21 groundballs, including a grounder and assist that led to the tying goal against Westminster with 4.6 seconds remaining. On the year, Clay currently leads the HCLC with 66 groundballs and ranks third in caused turnovers with 16. In NCAA Division III, he ranks among national leaders with seven groundballs per outing.

ON THE BACK END: Juniors Noah Dubrava (Centerville, Ohio) and Andrew Trachtman (Carmel, Ind.) have each been key contributors to the Panther defense in 2019. Dubrava has made double-digit saves in five of nine competitions this year, with 15 coming against Westminster. Of those, 11 came in the second half or overtime periods. Dubrava also registered five groundballs and a caused turnover on the day. On the campaign, Dubrava has a .564 save percentage and a 10.51 goal against average, with both sitting second in the HCLC and among national leaders.

Trachtman has helped bolster the defense with 12 caused turnovers, which is the fifth-best total in the league. With a forced giveaway against Fontbonne and Westminster, he now has at least one caused error in eight of nine contests in 2019. His best performance of the season came against Muskingum (Ohio), when he contributed six groundballs to go with a pair of caused turnovers.

ON THE ATTACK: Sophomore Ian Kimmins (Dayton, Ohio) had a career-high eight points in the Hanover victory against Westminster. Notably, he was on the receiving end of Clay's pass at the end of regulation that led to him scoring with 4.6 seconds on the clock. On the week, Kimmins hit the back of the net nine times and dished four dimes for 13 points. Overall, he has 27 goals, seven assists, and 34 points this year, leading the conference in scores and total points. Halfway into the campaign, Kimmins has almost doubled his goal total from his freshman season, while already reaching his mark in helpers.

Freshman Dirk Meinhart (Elizabethtown, Ky.) has been hot over his last three appearances, registering eight of his 13 season points over that span. Meinhart had a memorable performance against the Titans on March 24 with a pair of scores. On his first, he knocked a defender to the ground as he charged towards the goal, eventually zinging a shot past the goalkeeper. On his second, he retrieved a pass from junior Dallas Fonner (Evansville, Ind.) off the turf and scooped the ball in the net. In 2019, Meinhart has eight goals and five dimes.

SCHELLING IT OUT: Senior Bret Schell (Dayton, Ohio) hit the game-winner in triple overtime against the Titans, capitalizing off a pass from junior Patrick Boylston (Boca Raton, Fla.). Schell also recorded a team-high 11 groundballs while going 15-for-23 in the faceoffs.

Schell has totaled 18 goals and 11 assists for 29 points this year, with a score in five consecutive outings. His points rank fifth in the conference and it is the second loftiest total of his collegiate career after having 41 his freshman season. As a senior, Schell is posting collegiate-bests in shot percentage (.281), faceoff wins (90), and faceoff percentage (.592). In addition, he is on pace to surpass his junior total of 66 groundballs, already having 62 in 2019.

SCOUTING NORTH CENTRAL: The North Central College Cardinals are 6-1 in 2019. They opened their year with Calvin (Mich.), winning 16-2. On Feb. 28, HC played the Knights, coming away with a 6-5 road victory. The Cardinals are in their third year as a program, with 16 triumphs to show for their first two full campaigns. This season, junior Jared Weaver leads North Central with 37 points on 21 goals and 16 dimes.

Contact: Tyler Jester