INDIANAPOLIS (May 6, 2018) – Following a season in which the team tied the program wins mark, the United States Merchant Academy Men's Lacrosse team is headed back to the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship as announced by the NCAA late on Sunday.
The Mariners will be heading to Medford, Mass., to take on Johnson & Wales (R.I.) on Tuesday, May 8. The winner of the first-round contest will then play host Tufts University the following day on Wednesday, May 9. Game times have not been announced for either contest at Tufts.
Tufts will be providing live stats and a live video stream for both contests. Links will be available on the USMMA Men's Lacrosse Schedule Page.
This is the third appearance in the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship for the Mariners, with its last appearance coming back in nine seasons ago. In 2009, Merchant Marine won the Landmark Conference Championship over Scranton, 8-6, before competing in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championship and falling 10-9 in overtime to Eastern Connecticut State.
Two years earlier in 2007, the Mariners won the inaugural Skyline Conference Championship, upending the Stevens Ducks by a 12-11 score. In its first-ever NCAA Championship game, the Mariners fell to Keene State in the first round of the tournament by a 14-11 score.
This season the Mariners tied its program mark with 13 wins on the year including a perfect 6-0 mark against teams from the Skyline Conference. The Mariners needed overtime to get past fourth-seeded Farmingdale in the conference semifinals on Wednesday by a 13-12 score, before pulling away late in the league championship game on Saturday, 21-15 over third-seeded Mount Saint Mary to clinch its second-ever Skyline title.
Merchant Marine will be meeting the Johnson & Wales Wildcats. In the Wildcats' fifth year of existence, Johnson & Wales finished the regular season at 6-11 overall and entered the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship as the sixth seed. The team bounced third-seeded Mount Ida by a 14-3 score before upsetting the second seeded Lasell Lasers in overtime, 11-10. The Wildcats completed its run with a 9-5 win in the conference championship over top-seeded Norwich on Saturday.
This will be Johnson & Wales first-ever trip to the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship.
The Mariners and Wildcats had one common opponent this season in the form of New England College. The Mariners handled the Pilgrims by a 20-7 score in its home opener back on March 10, while the Wildcats fell to the Pilgrims by a 9-4 score on March 22. Neither team played any other team that qualified for this year's Division III Championship.
The winner between the Mariners and Wildcats will face host Tufts the following day on the Jumbos' home turf. Tufts was ranked seventh in the most recent USILA Coaches Poll, which came out on April 30. The Jumbos were just one point outside of the top-five, as Tufts garnered 291 points.
Tufts won its conference championship on Sunday, with a 12-9 win to defeat Wesleyan in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship. The Jumbos have a strong recent pedigree in the Division III Championship winning three of the last eight championships while appearing in two other title games, most recently in 2016.
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