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May 3, 2013

Men's Lacrosse Looks to Nab Second Landmark Conference Championship

Kings Point, NY – The fourth seeded United States Merchant Marine Academy Mariners (9-7, 3-3) will take on the third seeded Crusaders of Susquehanna University (11-6, 4-2) Saturday, May 4 at 5:00 PM in Selinsgrove, PA for the Landmark Conference title.

The matchup marks the first time in Landmark Conference history that the three and four seeds will meet in the championship game as both squads pulled off upsets in their Wednesday night semi-final contests. 

Merchant Marine earned their first ever victory over Goucher College since joining the Landmark Conference; hanging on by a 6-5 margin, while Susquehanna upset the Scranton Royals 7-4.

The Crusaders will be making their first appearance in the championship game while Merchant Marine's only other appearance came in 2009 when they brought the title back to Kings Point. 

Championship Preview:

Setting the Scene..
 Merchant Marine, seeded fourth, will have their hands full against third seeded Susquehanna who will be making their first appearance in the Landmark Conference Championship game.

Series History..
 The Mariners are 3-3 against Susquehanna since joining the Landmark Conference, including a 10-5 loss in Selinsgrove earlier this year. 

Scouting the Crusaders..
Susquehanna is led in scoring by Austen Lein and Connor Moran who have tallied 51 and 44 points respectively.  As a team they've scored 17 man-up goals on the season while only allowing opponents to score seven man-up goals of their own.  In their semi-final playoff matchup against Scranton, the Crusaders were able to Stymie the Royal's offense, holding Scranton to only four goals total, and one in the second half.

A Trio of Scorers..
 Much of USMMA's scoring production has centered on sophomore Geoff Harty (Chicago, IL), freshman John Atkinson (Garden City, NY), and senior Michael Ackerman (Malvern, PA).  Together, they have scored 70 of Merchant Marine's 146 goals on the season.  Ackerman netted the game-winner for Merchant Marine in their semi-final playoff against Goucher; tallying a team-high two goals and one assist. 

Young in Net..
 Since taking over for starter Alex Peyreigne (Weston, CT) who left for sea after 11 games, Kevin Young (Springfield, VA) has posted a 4-1 record in his first five career starts.  His career-high 23-save effort against Goucher in the Landmark semi-finals moved him into the conference lead in save percentage (63.2%) and second in goals against average (7.33). 

Solid on Defense..
 The Mariners did a good job of stopping Goucher's offense, holding a team who averaged 8.5 goals per game on the season, to a mere five on Wednesday night.  Merchant Marine looks to continue their strong defensive effort on Saturday.  Senior Sean Sheehy (Annapolis, MD) will look to control possession in the face off circle as he's done all year, winning 69 draws and collecting a team-high 55 ground balls.  The Mariners will rely heavily on seniors Sam Heard (Boca Raton, FL), Sean Slattery (Massapequa, NY) and freshman Gus Sawicki (Louisville, CO) to stop Susquehanna on the defensive end of the field.