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PREVIEW: Men's lacrosse set to take on Griffins in Atlantic East semifinals

PREVIEW: Men's lacrosse set to take on Griffins in Atlantic East semifinals

ARLINGTON, Va. – The third-seeded Marymount University men's lacrosse team will travel to second-seeded Gwynedd Mercy University for an Atlantic East Conference tournament semifinal matchup on Wednesday, May 1, with the opening faceoff set for 6:30 p.m.

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How we got here:

Marymount earned the tournament's fourth seed after going 4-2 in Atlantic East play during the regular season and hosted sixth-seeded Wesley College in a first-round tournament contest. After leading 3-2 in the first half, the Saints exploded for 14 goals in the final two quarters, led by nine points from sophomore Clark Akers. Akers set a career high with six assists, while tying with classmate Jonah Mackiewicz and freshman Riley Scales to lead the team with three goals, each. Senior Christian Lutz dominated the faceoff "X," setting a career high in wins with a perfect 25-for-25 clip; he added 19 ground balls.

How they got here:

Gwynedd Mercy earned the second seed after a 4-2 record in conference play, as well, but held the tiebreaker over the Saints and fourth-seeded Neumann University, earning a first-round bye in the Atlantic East tournament. The Griffins won their final three games in Atlantic East play during the regular season, including a 17-1 win over Wesley to clinch their spot in the tournament. Ryan Simpson led the team with five goals and six points in the game. The Gwynedd Mercy defense held the Wolverines to only seven shots in the contest.

Last time we met:

The teams met for the first time as Atlantic East opponents this season on Wednesday, April 3, as the Griffins took an 11-10 decision in overtime. Gwynedd Mercy jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the second quarter and remained in control for much of the game. After a goal at the 4:27 mark of the third quarter for the Griffins to take a 10-6 lead, Akers answered less than a minute later to spark a four-goal Saints run to close the game. Akers netted three in the spurt, while Scales tied the game with 3:13 left to play to force overtime. However, the Griffins gained possession on the overtime faceoff and Kohler Setley scored to take the game 48 seconds into the period.

Series history:

Marymount and Gwynedd Mercy have split the six games against each other in their history, dating back to March 16, 2011. The Saints took three-straight wins from the 2012 to 2014 seasons, but the Griffins have won the last two matchups to tie the series. This season's matchup is the first in four years, bring the schools together in the first year of the Atlantic East.

Record setters:

Sophomore Clark Akers and senior Christian Lutz have climbed the Marymount men's lacrosse record books this season. Akers has had one of the best offensive seasons the Saints' have seen, taking over as the single-season program leader with 76 points so far this season. His 47 goals in currently tied for first in the program, while his 29 assists ranks third for a single season.

Lutz has been a force at the faceoff "X" and has picked up 150 ground balls this year as a result, which is first in the program for a single season. Over his career, he has collected 257 ground balls, moving into fifth all-time in program history.

What's next?

The winner of Wednesday's game will advance to the first-ever Atlantic East championship game and take on the winner of the other semifinal game between No. 1-seed Cabrini University and No. 4-seed Neumann University. The contest is set for Saturday, May 4 at the highest remaining seed's field; the start time is to be determined.