Lynchburg, Va. – The Transylvania men's lacrosse team will begin the 2019 NCAA Division III Tournament on Wednesday, May 8 against the Lynchburg College Hornets at 6:00 p.m. at Shellenberger Field.
The Pioneers (14-4, 8-0 HCLC) are making their third consecutive and third overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament as they meet Lynchburg (13-6, 9-1 ODAC) for the first time in the history of the two programs in Wednesday's NCAA second-round matchup.
Transylvania enters the 2019 NCAA Tournament with the highest win total in program history, carrying an overall record of 14-4 into battle.
The Pioneers went a perfect 8-0 in Heartland Collegiate Lacrosse Conference regular-season play and finished off their season with their fifth straight conference tournament championship by beating Hanover College 14-8 this past Saturday in the conference title game. Transylvania is on a season-high six-game win streak heading into the NCAA Tournament.
Lynchburg is no stranger to the NCAA Tournament as the Hornets make their eighth straight appearance in the NCAAs and their 13th overall. The Hornets enter the tournament as the 20th-ranked team in the country by the USILA coaches' poll.
The Hornets enter the 36-team field as an at-large team out of the laudable Old Dominion Athletic Conference. The Hornets put together a 9-1 run in conference play this year before being edged by No. 17 Washington and Lee, 8-7 in the conference title game on Sunday. Washington and Lee hosted the Pioneers in last season's NCAA Tournament second round with the Generals defeating the Pioneers 23-5.
Transylvania has visited an ODAC team in all three of its tournament matchups with Lynchburg representing the third different opponent in those appearances. This year, the Pioneers pack a balanced punch along with some gaudy numbers.
At the end of the regular season, the Pioneers lead the nation in scoring margin, outscoring opponents by an average of 11.53 goals per contest. Transylvania ranks sixth in the country in scoring at 18 goals per game and fifth in defense, holding opponents to 6.47 goals per contest. The Pioneers have been hawks on possession, ranking fourth nationally in ground balls with 804 in total and seventh in face-off win percentage with a 71.5 collection rate.
The Pioneers have also been defensive stalwarts in 2019. Junior midfielder T.J. Toivonen ranks 41st in the country in caused turnovers with 2.35 per game while sophomore goalie Michael Webb stands seventh in the country in goals-against average, yielding 7.14 goals per game. Toivonen is the conference's leader in caused turnovers with 41 total and leads the Pioneers with 77 ground balls.
Transylvania is led on offense by senior attack Nic Bailey with 36 goals on the year, and upstart freshman attack Bryce Lowe, who ranks third in the conference in goals with 41. Junior attack Trenton Sneed has once again served as a dependable offensive catalyst for the Pioneers, ranking second in the HCLC in assists with 37 and third in conference with 71 points.
Lynchburg is a team which has rested upon its defensive laurels this season while going toe-to-toe with many of the national powers in Division III men's lacrosse. The Hornets rank second in the nation in turnovers per game at 15.17 and 16th in the country, allowing only 7.72 goals per contest. Goalie Patrick Cornelius is one of the most formidable netminders in the nation, ranking 15th in the country with 8.1 goals allowed per match.
Lynchburg's offensive leaders are attack Evan Lombardo, who ranks third in the ODAC with 49 goals, and the conference's fifth-leading goal-scorer, midfielder Kevin Rogers. Attack Logan Adams is Lynchburg's leading assist man with 31 on the season.
Tickets for Wednesday's NCAA Tournament game are $7 for adults, and $5 for students and senior citizens. Tickets are available for purchase at the Shellenberger Field main gate.
For those who cannot attend the game, the NCAA Tournament contest will be broadcast live via the Lynchburg Hornets Sports Network.
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