Men's Lacrosse News & Highlights
April 30, 2014
Eagles Place 14 On Conference Teams
Despite graduating nine All-Conference players from last season, the Eagles showed their depth by sweeping through the Freedom Conference in the regular season and earning 14 All-Conference spots again in 2014.
Eastern had 10 players named to the All-Freedom First Team, four players named to the Second Team and also had the conference's Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year.
Eastern junior attack, Grant Ferguson (Rochester, N.Y./ Gates-Chili), earned Offensive Player of the Year honors. So far in his record-breaking season, Ferguson has scored 58 goals on 93 shots on goal and dished out 17 assists. He's also corralled 34 ground balls and caused 10 turnovers. Ferguson has had seven games this year with five or more points.
Junior defender Mark Cyron (Lincoln University, Pa./ Salesianum) emerged as the anchor for Eastern's stalwart defense this season, a defense that allowed just eight goals per game (4.83 gpg in conference games). Cyron led the Eagles with 38 caused turnovers and had six games with four or more CTs. Cyron also recovered 56 ground balls.
Head coach Kevin Wallace, in his third year at the helm of the Eagles' program, has earned Coach of the Year honors for the second season in a row. Wallace led the Eagles to a 13-4 (6-0 Freedom) record so far this season and has a chance to win his third straight conference title on Saturday. Wallace has a 41-11 (78.8 percent) record as a head coach.
Joining Ferguson and Cyron on the First Team are attackman Dave Darling, midfielders Dez Decker (Maple Valley, Wash./ Tahoma), Andy Jameson (State College, Pa./ State College), and Andrew Travers (Crofton, Md./ DeMatha), short stick specialist Shawn Farmer (Millersville, Md./ Old Mill), faceoff specialist Matt Lee (Cherry Hill, N.J./ Cherry Hill East), defender Jordan Norris (Lancaster, Pa./ Manheim Twp.), and goalie Pat Groschan (Cockeysville, Md./ Calvert Hall).
Earning second team honors were Eric Waibel (West Grove, Pa./ Avon Grove), Tim Lamb (Malvern, Pa./ Great Valley), Ryan Mitchell (Collegeville, Pa./ Pope John Paul II) and Joe Palo (Hatboro-Horsham).
Through the end of the regular season, the Eagles figured into the top-25 nationally in several statistical categories. Eastern's high-powered offense ranked No. 1 nationally in man-up offense, scoring on man-up chances 65.3 percent of the time. The Eagles also ranked 15th overall in faceoff winning percentage as both all-conference specialists Lee and Palo combined to win 63.7 percent of the team's faceoffs. Lee was ranked 11th in the country with a 67.5 winning percentage.
Darling (San Diego, Calif./ Mt. Carmel), who hadn't played since 2011, has carried out an assault on the record books in his return to the field, scoring 85 total points this year (35 goals and 50 assists). Darling was ranked 10th in the country in assists per game and 21st nationally in points per game. Ferguson was ranked 14th in the country in goals per game.
Eastern's defense and midfield demonstrated excellence in transitioning the ball to the offensive end, ranking 22nd in the country in clear percentage (86.9 percent).
On Saturday at 1 p.m., the Eagles will have the chance to take their third straight Freedom Conference Championship. The Eagles will host the DeSales University Bulldogs in a rematch of the regular season finale. Eastern took that game 20-3.
Updated: Tuesday, 08 July 2014