2017 ORLC Tournament Preview: Transylvania Men’s LAX aims for third straight conference title

2017 ORLC Tournament Preview: Transylvania Men’s LAX aims for third straight conference title

Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania men's lacrosse team begins its quest for a third consecutive Ohio River Men's Lacrosse Conference Tournament title this Wednesday, May 3 when it hosts the Washington and Jefferson College Presidents at Pat Deacon Stadium in the ORLC tournament semifinals.

The Pioneers (11-3 overall, 7-0 ORLC) enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed and prepare to host the No. 4 seed Presidents (5-11 overall, 4-3 ORLC) Wednesday evening at 5:00 p.m.

In its third year of existence, the ORLC is for the first time awarding an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament to the conference tournament winner.

If the results of the two previous ORLC conference tournaments are any indication, the outlook bodes well for the Pioneers, who enter the 2017 conference tournament as the two-time defending regular-season and tournament champions.

Transylvania is seeking its third consecutive tournament title and rides into this year's tournament with more momentum than ever before; the Pioneers are in the midst of a program-record 10-game winning streak, and its first-ever undefeated run through ORLC regular-season play.

Transylvania sealed up the conference No. 1 seed last Saturday in its season finale, a 15-3 win over tournament No. 3 seed Thiel College. The win completed a perfect month of March as the Pioneers went 7-0 against their opponents.

The Pioneers have crafted their sizzling 2017 run upon a nationally-formidable defense. Reigning ORLC Defensive Player of the Year, senior goalie Cooper Fogle, ranks first in the country in goals-against average, allowing 5.57 goals per contest.

Led by Fogle, the Pioneers rank second nationally in scoring defense, allowing 5.36 goals per game. Transylvania has augmented its defense with an efficient offense, led by senior attacker Clark Watts, who leads the Pioneers with 26 goals on the season. Freshman attacker Trenton Sneed has carved a reputation in his first year at Transy as a master facilitator, leading the conference in assists with 38.

Wednesday's meeting marks the second clash of the year between Transylvania and Washington and Jefferson. The two teams last met on April 15 at Washington and Jefferson's campus in Washington, Pennsylvania. The Pioneers won that matchup, 14-7 behind a sweltering second half in which the Presidents were held to one goal.

The Pioneers and Presidents square off Wednesday evening for the right to play in Saturday's conference tournament championship game. Transylvania is 2-0 in past ORLC semifinal games, winning 14-5 over Thiel in the 2016 conference semifinals and 12-6 against Hanover in the 2015 conference semifinals.

Wednesday's game also presents a rematch of the two teams who faced off against one another in the 2016 conference tournament championship game, a 10-6 win that went to the Pioneers. While the 2016 championship marked the final game of the Pioneers' season, a win in this year's championship grants the winner a ticket to the NCAA tournament, extending their season for at least one more week.  

Tickets for Wednesday's game are $8 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens, and free to children ages 11 and under. Free admission will be granted to students, faculty, and staff of both Transylvania and Washington and Jefferson who can provide a university ID.

Wednesday's game will also be carried on the Transy Sports Network at the links provided above.

The winner of Wednesday's semifinal matchup will go on to host the championship game on Saturday with the conference' first automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament on the line. Starting time for Saturday's championship is to be determined based upon the winning teams in the semifinals.

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