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photo by Patrick March

In early February, the ODAC released its preseason Men’s lacrosse rankings. It was not surprising to see Roanoke and Lynchburg at the top. Roanoke is coming off the 2010 season in which they were undefeated in all ODAC games, and Lynchburg returns it’s most talented team in the last 10 years. Lynchburg has been trying to lessen the gap in the overall series record for the last couple of seasons, so a win against Roanoke is always a bonus (Roanoke leads the over all series, 31-6). Roanoke enjoys a win over the Hornets just the same, especially in Lynchburg.

When the Maroons and the Hornets take the field this Saturday evening, there’s a lot more at stake than just ODAC bragging rights. With a win this Saturday, the victor will still be in Pool C consideration for the NCAA tournament and for the loser…it’s the ODAC Tournament Championship automatic qualifier or bust.

The mood and intensity of the game will be futher heightened by what has happened to both teams in the last week. The Maroons have lost their last two non-conference games to opponents ranked in the top 15 and Lynchburg has done likewise. Both teams will be looking to end their losing streaks and turn their seasons around. Add all of the NCAA and ODAC incentives with the atmosphere of a Saturday night game where the field is beside the student dorms…this Saturday should be an exciting night of lacrosse.

There are couple of story lines to follow going into the game.

Roanoke is still trying to find their full-time goalie. Since the first game of the season, Coach Pilat has been using two goalies each game. Sophomore Mike Hardon typically starts the game and freshman Charlie Pease takes over at halftime. Both goalies have been fantastic with only a slight edge going to Hardon in saves, but to the naked eye, they’re dead even. In Roanoke’s last two games, they have also struggled to find any rhythm offensively. Stevenson was held to 16 goals in Roanoke’s Wednesday game. It could have been more had it not been for the effort’s of Roanoke’s young defense and talented goalies. The Roanoke defensive unit is not built to hold teams to 5 goals, it’s built to complement a powerful offense that can hold possession.

Lynchburg finds their offense in a similar position. They have been unable to score more than 10 goals this season. Against any other team, this wouldn’t be a problem. However, if Roanoke’s run ‘n gun squad can find their rhythm again, the Hornets will need to be able to go goal for goal with the Maroons.

GoNoke.org will be at the Lynchburg game and a couple of Roanoke photographers have told us they plan to attend. Follow this link to Lynchburg’s webcast of the game: http://lc.nmtvsports.com/(S(uhkz1vfaapz01worbk0kjglp))/sportzcastplayer.aspx

Go Noke!

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