PAINESVILLE, Ohio—The sixth-ranked Lake Erie College men's lacrosse team will host the University of Tampa in the first round of the NCAA Division-II Championships next Saturday (May 9).
Earlier this season, the Storm defeated the Spartans 13-7 in Painesville.
This marks the second time the Storm have qualified for the Division-II playoffs, with their last appearance coming in 2013.
The Storm enters the tournament with the second-seed in the South Region after finishing the season with a 14-2 record. They have toppled then first-ranked Limestone College, second-ranked Le Moyne College, ninth-ranked Tampa, 11th-ranked University of Mount Olive and Lindenwood University, 13th-ranked Mercyhurst University and 14th-ranked Belmont Abbey College this year.
Reagan Harding (Saskatoon, Sask./Bishop James Mahoney) led the Storm's offense this season, earning Eastern College Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors. Harding tallied 41 goals and eight assists in the regular season. He scored three or more goals in eight games this year and had three games with five goals. In addition to his offensive output, Harding went 38-of-64 (59.4%) in the faceoff-X and had 24 groundballs.
Justin Goodwin (New Westminster, B.C./New Westminster Secondary) anchored the Storm's defense, earning ECAC Defensive Player of the Year honors. In the regular season, Goodwin tallied 87 groundballs and 43 caused turnovers. Goodwin picked up seven or more groundballs eight times, including a season-high of 14 against Lindenwood University. Against Roberts Wesleyan College and Mercyhurst, Goodwin caused six turnovers. In addition to his defensive prowess, Goodwin scored three goals and assisted on two.
The Storm defense has been one of the best in the country this season, allowing just 6.73 goals per game behind goalies Nicholas Simonetti (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Jerome/Queens) and Tom Lipomi (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg). The Storm also ranks second in caused turnovers, averaging 11.20 per game.