CAA MEN’S LACROSSE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Anthony Muscarella, Hofstra

Jr., M, Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh

Muscarella scored a career-high five goals and seven points helping lead the Pride to a 13-8 victory over Towson in the CAA opener for both squads Friday. The Wantagh, N.Y., native scored four-straight goals in the middle of the contest to turn a 3-2 Hofstra deficit into a 6-4 Pride lead in the third quarter. Muscarella also assisted on two fourth quarter goals, and now has nine goals and six assists on the year.

 

CAA MEN’S LACROSSE ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Anthony Ruiz, Delaware

RFr., M, Dover, N.J./Seton Hall Prep

Ruiz won 9-of-14 faceoffs in Delaware’s 8-4 conference season-opening win over Villanova Saturday. The Dover, N.J., native also collected a team-high six groundballs in the Hens’ sixth win of the season. Ruiz now has a .552 (56-of-69) faceoff winning percentage through eight games this season.

 

CONFERENCE NOTES

A TOTAL OF THREE CAA SQUADS RANKED NATIONALLY: A total of 46 games have been played by the CAA’s seven league schools and more than half of its seven squads are among the national polls. In the USILA Coaches poll, Drexel (No. 11), Hofstra (No. 12), and Delaware (No. 14) lead the way, while Towson and Sacred Heart comes in as one of 10 teams just outside the Top-20. All three ranked squads are also part of the March 24 edition of the Nike/Inside Lacrosse rankings -- No. 11 Drexel, No. 14 Delaware and No. 15 Hofstra -- Towson is also just outside the poll.

CAA LACROSSE IN THE NATIONAL TOP-5 STATISTICALLY: A total of three CAA teams rank among the Top-5 in four different categories nationally through games played prior to March 24. Delaware’s man-up scoring percentage of .524 ranks No. 5. Drexel ranks fourth nationally in scoring defense (6.0 goals/game) and owns the nation’s fifth-best winning percantage at .875 (7-1). Sacred Heart’s 12.3 goals per game scoring average ranks No. 5 in the country.

ON THE ROAD WITH THE DRAGONS: After taking care of a non-conferenc tilt at Lafayette, 13-6, March 22, 11th-ranked Drexel extended its road win-streak to four games in 2008. Going back even further, the Dragons have not lost a game away from home since falling, 8-6, to Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pa., Feb. 24, 2007. Drexel is also in the midst of its longest overall win-streak in more than 10 years (1995). The Dragons won as many as six-straight in 2007, including their first four conference games of the year.

COMING OF AGE: Sacred Heart, which began its transition into the Division I competition level in 1999, had not earned a win over regional power Massachusetts until March 18 -- The Pioneers welcomed the Minutemen to Fairfield, Conn., and sent them home with a 9-7 loss. After a conference season-opening 15-11 win over visiting Robert Morris, Sacred Heart finds itself atop the CAA standings and part of a list of 10 teams just outside the USILA Coaches Top-20. The Pioneers’ overall record of 5-1 marks the programs best start ever on the Division I level, and now looking to improve with another win at Villanova, March 29.

EIGHT CAA STANDOUTS ON THE TEWAARATON WATCH LIST: A total of eight CAA Men’s Lacrosse players are listed among 52 standouts on the initial Tewaaraton Award Watch List -- given to the top player in college lacrosse. The eight CAA players include: Bruce Bickford (Drexel), Andrew Chapman (Drexel), Martin Cahill (Delaware), Curtis Dickson (Delaware), Steve Grossi (Drexel), Cam Howard (Delaware), Chris MacDonald (Villanova), Kevin Unterstein (Hofstra).

NECK-AND-NECK LEAGUE RACE PREVIEWED IN PRESEASON POLL: Drexel, which shared the CAA regular-season crown in 2007, was narrowly picked to capture the CAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship in 2008 according to the league’s seven head coaches. The Dragons received three first-place votes and a total of 33 points, just one better than Towson’s total of 32. The Tigers also logged three first-place votes. Defending conference champion Delaware picked up the remaining first-place vote and was third in the poll with 27 points.

TEAM NOTES

No. 14 DELAWARE (6-2 overall): No. 14 Delaware snapped a two-game losing streak as the Blue Hens opened defense of their 2007 CAA title with an 8-4 win over Villanova at Rullo Stadium Saturday. The Hens held Villanova scoreless in the first half on the way to a 5-0 lead at the break and went 32 total minutes without allowing a Wildcat goal. Tom Scherr recorded 13 saves while Curtis Dickson led the offense with three goals. Cam Howard had two goals and an assist and Vincent Giordano scored once and dished off an assist. After allowing 37 goals in consecutive losses, Delaware’s defense returned to form and allowed the fewest goals since a 19-4 win over Robert Morris last April. The Blue Hens have now defeated seven-straight CAA opponents since last year. Dickson entered the week leading the nation in total goals and now has 27. The Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, native has scored a goal in 16-straight games and a point in 17 consecutive games. Villanova converted just 1-of-8 extra man opportunites and the Hens have now killed 37-of-53 penalties (.698) this season. Delaware plays two games this week, traveling to Lehigh March 25 and returning home to host Brown March 29 at 1 p.m.

No. 11 DREXEL (7-1 overall): No. 11 Drexel, winners of its last seven, hit the road for a tough-test March 25 at No. 7 Notre Dame. The Dragons are in the midst of their longest win streak in more than 10 years (1995). After disposing of Lafayette in Easton, Pa., 13-6, Drexel improved to 4-0 on the road this season. The Dragons have also won their last nine games away from home. Drexel’s No. 11 spot in this week’s USILA Coaches and Nike/Inside Lacrosse Top-20 marks the program’s best-ever ranking -- breaking the previous mark of No. 12 in the March 17 edition of the poll. Andrew Chapman led Drexel in the victory at Lafayette, garnering a team-best four goals and an assist. Kevin Stoeckel also added a goal, while last week’s CAA Player of the Week, Colin Ambler, added three points (2G, 1A) against the Leopards. Bruce Bickford continued his strong goalie play by limiting Lafayette to just six goals, and now has a league-best 5.71 goals-against average. After its midweek road battle at South Bend, Ind., Drexel returns home to open CAA play March 29 against No. 12 Hofstra at 5 p.m., on CN8.

No. 12 HOFSTRA (3-2 overall): CAA Men’s Lacrosse Player of the Week Anthony Muscarella scored a career-high five goals and added two assists for seven points, and Dan Stein contributed two goals and one assist as No. 12 Hofstra won its CAA opener with a 13-8 decision over Towson. The Pride jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first quarter as Jay Card scored twice. The first goal came off a feed from Steven DeNapoli, while the second came after Card picked up a rebound on a shot by Mike Unterstein and fired a blast past Towson keeper Matt Antol. The Tigers raced out to start the second quarter and scored three-straight goals to take the lead. The Pride responded on their next possession following a failed clear by Towson. After Hofstra set up in the offensive zone, Muscarella scored unassisted to tie the score at three. Muscarella struck again with 2:34 left in the half, another unassisted tally that put the Pride up 4-3 at halftime. Muscarella completed the natural hat trick in the third quarter as he beat Antol again to extend the Pride lead to 5-3. The Tigers got one back at the 4:15 mark, but Muscarella converted a feed from Unterstein to give the Pride the 6-4 lead. The Pride hosts No. 16 Army at Shuart Stadium March 25 at 7 p.m. Hofstra will also travel to No. 11 Drexel March 29 for a CN8 televised contest against the Dragons. Drexel edged the Pride last year 8-7 at Shuart marking the Dragons’ first-ever win over the Pride in 19 tries.

ROBERT MORRIS (4-5 overall): The Colonials dropped their fifth game of the season this past weekend, falling to Sacred Heart, 15-11, in Fairfield, Conn. The Colonials fought back-and-forth through the first quarter with the Pioneers, ending the stanza in a 4-4 tie. After a five-goal outburst in the second, RMU trailed 9-6 heading into halftime. The Colonials were limited to just one goal in the third, while Sacred Heart added a pair of their own to increase the lead, 11-7. A late rally in the fourth quarter fell short for Robert Morris as Sacred Heart matched a four-goal effort with four of its own to claim a 15-11 victory over the Colonials. Michael Fleming led the offense with a goal and three assists. Andrew Watt and Dan Kerch tallied hat-tricks with three goals apiece and Corbyn Tao-Brambleby, last week’s CAA Rookie of the Week, added a goal and a helper. Sal Barcia suffered the loss in net with 11 saves. The Colonials return home this weekend to host Towson March 29 at Joe Walton Stadium. RMU is 0-2 lifetime against the Tigers.

SACRED HEART (5-1 overall): The Pioneers have faced regional power Massachusetts every season since 2003 but had lost five-straight heading into the March 18 contest. Sacred Heart put an end to the streak with a convincing 9-7 win over the Minutemen. SHU got two goals and two assists from Timmy Katz and a stellar 13 save performance in goal by Ricardo Vargas to lead the way. Bobby Rushton and Dan Casciano combined to score seven goals March 22, leading the Pioneers to a 15-11 win over visiting Robert Morris in the CAA opener for both teams. Rushton tied his career-high with four goals, two in man-up opportunites, as the Pioneers improve to 5-1, their best-ever start on the Division I level. The Pioneers were again led in goal by Vargas, who made 11 saves to earn his third win in the cage this season. The Pioneers took 39 shots in the win, putting 29 on goal, while finishing three-of-six on their man-up opportunities. Pat Healy scored his first career goal in the win while Katz extended his scoring streak to six-straight games this season with a goal and an assist. Sacred Heart will look to extend its best start since beginning Division I play, when it travels to Villanova March 29 for a 1 p.m. contest.

TOWSON (1-4 overall): After a 13-8 setback against No. 12 Hofstra on March 21, the Tigers have now lost three-straight games and are 1-4 on the season. It is the first time Towson has started the season with a 1-4 record since the 2000 season. In addition, it is the Tigers’ first three-game losing streak since dropping three-straight from March 25, 2000 to April 8, 2000. The Pride has defeated the Tigers in three of the last four meetings and now lead the all-time series by a 20-19 margin. Bill McCutcheon led the Tigers with his third hat-trick of the season, scoring a team-high three goals in the loss. He has scored nine goals this season, tallying three goals each in three games. Jonathan Engelke extended his streak of consecutive games with a point to 24-straight games, marking the 10th-longest streak in NCAA Division I. During his current streak, Engelke has scored 39 goals with 14 assists. Matt Antol made his first start of the season against the Pride and recorded seven saves as Towson outshot Hofstra 33-30. Antol had entered each of the first four games this season in the second half. Billy Sadtler, who started the first four games for the Tigers, did not play for the first time this year. The Tigers return to Johnny Unitas ® Stadium March 25 to host No. 15 Bucknell in a non-conference game at 7 p.m., before resuming CAA play at Robert Morris March 29 at 1 p.m.

VILLANOVA (1-7 overall): Villanova did its best to keep pressure on Ohio State, March 18, by outshooting the visiting Buckeyes 21-7 in the second half, but the Wildcats eventually fell at home, 15-8. Tommy Nolan and Mark Scioscia scored two goals apiece for Villanova, which outshot the Buckeyes 31-30 for the game thanks to its second half barrage of shots. Villanova got goals from six different players in the contest and seven players had at least one point. Later in the week, a defensive battle between conference rivals came down to a slow offensive start for the Wildcats in an 8-4 loss to No. 14 Delaware March 22 at Rullo Stadium. Villanova trailed 5-0 at halftime and got only as close as three goals in the second half as the Blue Hens won the CAA opener for both teams. Tim Driscoll broke a scoreless drought for the Wildcats with a man-up goal just over two minutes into the third quarter. Paul Webber netted his third goal of the year less than three minutes later to draw Villanova to within 5-2. In the fourth quarter, Dan Liva scored his first goal of the season to make the score 7-3. Villanova was still within striking distance at that point but the two remaining goals scored in the game came in the closing minutes. Driscoll scored his 13th goal of the season to close the gap to 7-4 and the Blue Hens closed the scoring with 1:54 to play. Driscoll finished with two goals and one assist and Webber added a goal and an assist for the Wildcats. Villanova returns home for its next contest and will host Sacred Heart March 29 at 1 p.m.