Written by Sports Information Student Assistant, Jake Sipes-Salter
HANOVER, Ind. - The Hanover men's lacrosse team will look to obtain its first Heartland Collegiate Lacrosse Conference Championship over the weekend when they travel to face top-seeded Transylvania (Ky.) in the tournament finals.
The Panthers will clash with the Pioneers at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 4, with the winner gaining the league title and an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III National Tournament.
IN SEMIFINAL ACTION: The Blue and Red made their way to the conference finals by garnering a 22-6 triumph over Earlham (Ind.) on May 1 in the HCLC Tournament semifinal round. Junior Noah King (Lexington, Ky.) led the way for HC with 10 points, while sophomore Ian Kimmins (Dayton, Ohio) notched six goals and one assist to give him 100 career points. Hanover was aided by a 28-for-32 mark at the faceoff "x," which helped them to a 56-19 edge in groundballs and a 50-17 margin in shots.
EFFICIENT ATTACKERS: Kimmins has a HCLC-leading 62 goals on the year, and with 18 assists sits second in the league with 80 points. Kimmins has tallied seven-plus points in four of his last five, shooting at or above 40 percent in each of those instances. Combined over those four, Kimmins shot 25-for-47 (.531), with eight scores coming on 11 shots in an April 10 meeting with Mount St. Joseph (Ohio). The sophomore is ranked 19th across NCAA Division III, averaging 3.65 goals per game.
Freshman Dirk Meinhart (Elizabethtown, Ky.) leads all of his classmates with 32 points on 20 scores and 12 dimes. Meinhart has registered one-plus point in three straight showings, and four of his last five. Against the Quakers in the HCLC semis, Meinhart recorded a career-high six points by hitting the back of the net on four occasions while adding a pair of helpers. In addition, Meinhart corralled four groundballs and caused two turnovers. In the four recent contests that he had a score, Meinhart hit 50 percent or more of his shot attempts in three of them.
MEN IN THE MIDDLE: Senior Bret Schell (Dayton, Ohio) has produced career-high statistics in most major scoring categories this year, having 30 goals, 20 assists and 50 points in 2019. After taking over as the primary faceoff man, Schell has been lights out, winning at a .705 clip that sits amongst the top 11 in NCAA Division III. As a result, Schell also has a collegiate-best 127 groundballs that ranks second in the conference. Schell has been a hot performer recently, having seven goals over his past two appearances. Versus Transy on April 27, Schell hit the back of the net five times, all of which came at key points for the Panthers. In his most recent outing against Earlham, Schell had two goals, seven groundballs, and a caused turnover; meanwhile, he went 19-for-20 from the faceoff "x", with his lone loss coming on a violation.
King currently leads the HCLC in points (88) and assists (43), while ranking second in goals, with 45. The junior is among the top 25 in points (5.18) and assists (2.53) per game. King has been on a tear recently, as he has seven-plus points in six of the Blue and Red's past seven matchups. During that span, King has had two showings of 10 points. His latest 10-pointer came in the conference semifinals, as he racked up four goals and six dimes. King has been sharp against Earlham over his career, as he now has 34 points over four meetings, consisting of 17 scores and 17 helpers. Versus Transylvania on April 27, King had three goals, with two in the fourth quarter.
DISRUPTIVE DEFENDERS: Junior Eric Clay (Wilmington, Del.) has been a crucial component for the HC defense, as he leads the HCLC with 144 groundballs and is third in caused turnovers with 32. Clay had a forced error to go along with a squad-pacing 13 groundballs against the Quakers; as a result, it marks the sixth time in 2019 that Clay has corralled 10 or more grounders. Across the country, Clay is one of the national leaders in total groundballs and groundballs per game at a clip of 8.47 per outing.
After precipitating seven errors from the opposition in the last four, junior Andrew Trachtman (Carmel, Ind.) has now reached 20 caused turnovers for the third consecutive season. Versus Earlham, Trachtman grabbed one groundball and forced three giveaways, and in action with Anderson (Ind.) on April 24 he had a pair of caused turnovers. Trachtman has also been extremely smart with the ball as of late, as he has just two turnovers over his past seven games and eight on the year.
In the net, junior Noah Dubrava (Centerville, Ohio) leads the HCLC with a .575 save percentage, while posting career-highs in goals allowed (93) and goal against average (8.11). Dubrava recently recorded his 15th instance of 15-plus stops, as he had 17 in the April 27 clash with the Pioneers. In his appearance, Dubrava added four groundballs and caused a turnover. For his efforts, Dubrava won his third HCLC Defensive Player of the Week award in 2019, and his fifth since the start of last year.
SCOUTING TRANSYLVANIA: The Transylvania Pioneers are 13-4 on the season with an 8-0 mark in the HCLC. The Pioneers are riding five consecutive wins, including a 29-0 shutout of MSJ in the HCLC semifinals on May 1. On April 27, Transy escaped with a 13-11 victory after nearly jettisoning a six-score lead that put them up 6-0 in the second quarter. The Panthers rallied throughout the contest, cutting a late 13-9 lead in half with a pair of scores inside 40 seconds of game time. Hanover is searching for its first win over Transy since 2015, an 8-7 overtime triumph.
Contact: Tyler Jester