Written by Sports Information Student Assistant, Jake Sipes-Salter
HANOVER, Ind. - The Hanover men's lacrosse team will look to secure its first ever bid into Heartland Collegiate Lacrosse Conference championship game as they take on Earlham (Ind.) in the opening round of the HCLC Tournament.
The Panthers will host the Quakers at Alumni Stadium at 4 p.m., Wednesday, May 1.
PANTHER SUCCESS: The Blue and Red are currently 11-5 overall with a 6-2 slate in the HCLC, marking the first time HC has achieved 10 or more wins in a season. Additionally, under first year head coach Jeff Roberts, the squad had its first winning season since they garnered a 9-7 record in the 2014 campaign. As a unit, HC leads the league in shot on goal percentage (.640) and shooting percentage (.339), with the latter being the 18th-highest in NCAA Division III men's lacrosse. Also on the offensive side, they rank top 30 in DIII in assists (148) and assists per game (9.87). Additionally, the Panthers are among the top 35 in groundballs (623), groundballs per game (41.53), and faceoff win percentage (.649).
SCHELL, DUBRAVA RECEIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior Bret Schell (Dayton, Ohio) and junior Noah Dubrava (Centerville, Ohio) earned HCLC Player of the Week nods for their performances against Anderson (Ind.) and Transylvania (Ky.) this past week.
Schell is receiving his first conference selection after an impressive five goal outing versus the Pioneers, when he proved essential in crunch time scoring. Schell contributed heavily on a first-half run that kept HC within two scores, and added goals in subsequent third and fourth quarter rallies. Schell also led HC with 10 groundballs on the afternoon, while going 10-of-20 in faceoffs. Against Anderson, Schell was a perfect 12-of-12 from the faceoff "x" while retrieving seven grounders. On the year, Schell has collegiate-bests in all three major scoring categories, totaling 28 goals, 20 assists and 48 points. Additionally, Schell has 120 groundballs, and is retrieving grounders at a rate of 7.33 per game, which is among the top 50 in NCAA Division III. Most notable, though, is his .701 faceoff win percentage, which is the 13th-best in the nation.
Dubrava is earning his third nod of the year after making 17 stops against Transylvania, his most since an 18-save outing against Kean (NJ) on March 16. That marked his 15th career appearance of 15-plus stops, with four of them coming during the 2019 campaign. Versus Anderson on April 24, Dubrava allowed only two scores while turning away four Raven shot attempts. For the year, Dubrava leads the HCLC with a .579 save percentage, while posting career-bests in goals allowed (90) and goal against average (8.45). In Division III, Dubrava has the 32nd-loftiest save percentage, while his goal against average ranks among the top 15 in the nation.
CLAY CREATING HAVOC: Junior Eric Clay (Wilmington, Del.) currently leads the HCLC with 131 groundballs and is corralling them at a rate of 8.27 per matchup, which is the 33rd-highest pace in DIII lacrosse. In addition, Clay ranks among national leaders in caused turnovers per game at a rate of 1.87, helping him to a season total of 31 forced giveaways. Clay played an important role versus Transylvania, as he paced the Panthers with three caused turnovers while snatching up seven grounders.
HITTING THE MARK: Sophomore Jackson Wheeler (Indianapolis, Ind.), junior Noah King (Lexington, Ky.) and sophomore Ian Kimmins (Dayton, Ohio) currently lead the HCLC in shot percentage by NCAA qualifications, with respective marks of .509, .442 and .438. In addition to his shooting percentage that ranks 15th in DIII, Wheeler has 29 goals and 12 assists on the year for 41 points. In his last two appearances, Wheeler has seven scores and five dimes on 7-of-13 shooting; of his 13 shots, 11 of them were on goal.
King currently leads the HCLC with 78 points and 37 assists, while ranking second in the league with 41 goals. King hit the back of the net on three occassions against Transylvania, and against Anderson notched five scores and two dimes. In eight interleague matchups, King leads his foes with 55 points, nearing a seven points per game clip. King has been one of the most well-rounded players, as he has national top 35 stats in in assists per game (2.47) and points per game (5.00).
Kimmins has totaled 73 points on a league-leading 56 scores and 17 dimes. In recent action versus Anderson, Kimmins nailed four shots and added a trio of helpers as HC cruised to a 21-4 win. This outing came after Kimmins registered back-to-back 10 point showings against Mount St. Joseph (Ohio), over which Kimmins tallied 15 scores and five assists. In Division III, Kimmins ranks 17th in goals per game at a pace of 3.73, while slotting inside the top 50 with 4.87 points per game.
SCOUTING EARLHAM: The Earlham Quakers are currently 4-11 on the year with a 4-4 record in the HCLC. The Quakers have won two of their past three contests, with victories over MSJ and Anderson. The Blue and Red will be looking for their third triumph over Earlham in 2019, as they won both regular seaosn meetings by a double-digit margin. On April 6 at Earlham, HC won 21-1 on the back of an eight-point outing from King. The junior also paced the Panthers with eight points in an 18-4 triumph, at home, back on March 17.
Contact: Tyler Jester