MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The historic stretch continues for the Wesleyan University men's lacrosse team as the nationally-ranked No. 6 Cardinals secured the No. 1 seed in the 2018 NESCAC Championship for the first time in program history. Wesleyan (12-2, 9-1 NESCAC) will look to defend its conference title beginning this Saturday, April 28 as it hosts eighth-seeded Bates College (8-7, 4-6) at 1 p.m. on Jackson Field. If the Cardinals advance, they will host the semifinal and championship games on Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6.
Wesleyan, Amherst, and Tufts all finished with identical conference records of 9-1. In head-to-head competition, all three teams went 1-1. In results against the top four teams, all three teams were 2-1. In results against the top eight teams, all three teams were 6-1. In comparing results against teams in rank order, all three teams posted wins against Williams, Connecticut College, Middlebury, Bowdoin, Bates, Colby, Trinity, and Hamilton. Per NESCAC tiebreaker protocol, a random action was used to determine Wesleyan as the No. 1 seed, Amherst as the No. 2 seed and Tufts as the No. 3 seed.
AT A GLANCE: NO. 1 WESLEYAN
- For the second year in a row, the Cardinals posted a 9-1 conference record in regular season play. The nine NESCAC victories are a program record.
- Wesleyan is 6-0 at home this season (five wins on Citrin Field and one on Jackson). The program is also riding a 20-game home winning streak which dates back to the 2016 campaign.
- The Cardinals boast the league's top defense, allowing just 8.46 goals per game, and rank third in the conference in face-offs won (189).
- Offensively, Wesleyan averages 12.43 goals per game. Freshman Ronan Jacoby leads the team and ranks fifth in the NESCAC with 42 goals while senior Harry Stanton—the program's all-time goal leader with 205 in his career—is second on the team and sixth in the conference with 41. Stanton is also second all-time in the Wesleyan record books in points with 264.
- Junior Carter Hawthorne leads the league in assists with 47 and ranks seventh in Cardinal history with 188 career points.
- Defensively, seniors Andres Rodriguez and Jake Cresta headline the unit with 26 and 25 caused turnovers, respectively. Rodriguez ranks second in the NESCAC while Cresta ranks third.
- In net, sophomore goalie Otto Bohan has been terrific in his first season starting between the posts. He boasts a 10-1 record and leads the conference in goals-against average (7.44) and ranks second in save percentage (60.6).
- Wesleyan is 21-14 in 16 NESCAC Tournament appearances. The Cardinals have won the conference championship twice (2017, '09) and finished as runner-up five times. The team's 21 postseason wins are third-most in the league behind only Tufts (28) and Middlebury (26).
AT A GLANCE: NO. 8 BATES
- The Bobcats return to the postseason for the fourth-straight year after defeating Colby, 20-15, on Wednesday. A year after earning the No. 1 seed, and ranking No. 1 in the country for the majority of the season, Bates claims the No. 8 seed for the first time ever.
- The Bobcats are 3-3 on the road this year and snapped a two-game losing streak with the win over the Mules.
- They rank third in the NESCAC in goals, scoring 13.73 per game, while allowing 12.64 per contest.
- Bates is led offensively by senior Clarke Jones and sophomore Matt Chlastawa. Jones is tied for the league-lead in goals with 48 while Chlastawa sits fourth with 45. The sophomore also leads the NESCAC in points with 91 and is second in assists (46). His 91 points are 13 more than the second-most in the league.
- Defensively, Bates is led by Rocco Fantoni who leads the conference in caused turnovers with 34.
- The Bobcats have played in seven NESCAC Tournaments and are 3-7 all time. They are seeking their first finals appearance.
- Wesleyan leads the all-time series, 24-15, and has won two in a row including a thrilling 14-13 victory a year ago in the NCAA Quarterfinals on Jackson Field.
- The two rivals met earlier this season, with Wesleyan claiming a 13-11 win on Citrin Field on March 10.
- Saturday's game marks the second-ever meeting between the two programs in the conference championship as the Bobcats won the first meeting in the 2015 quarterfinals, 14-11.