JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Mercer men's lacrosse team aims to capture at least a share of the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season title on Saturday as the Bears do battle with Jacksonville at D.B. Milne Field. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Mercer touts a 6-4 (3-0 A-Sun) record despite being upended by Air Force last time out. The Bears enter Saturday's play as winners in four of their last five games, including a 10-9 victory at High Point in their last A-Sun contest.
The Dolphins are 2-7 (1-1 A-Sun) on the season and look to win their second in a row after topping VMI in a dominating 14-5 victory on April 5. The team is 2-3 at home this season at 2-2 at D.B. Milne Field in 2014.
Jacksonville returns 19 letterwinners from last year's team that finished 8-5 overall and 5-1 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). This year, the Dolphins were picked to win the newly formed Atlantic Sun Conference in a preseason poll of league coaches, while six players earned Preseason All-Conference recognition.
The Dolphins rank 30th nationally in LaxPower.com's Division I Strength of Schedule rankings, having opened the season at Duke and against Notre Dame, which ranked No. 3 and No. 5, respectively in the USILA Coaches Top-25 poll at the time of the games.
A balanced offensive attack has six different players with double-digit point totals this year, led by Tom Moore's 25. Moore has registered 14 goals in nine games, including a season-high three-goal effort against Robert Morris on March 22.
Goalkeeper Peter DeLuca ranks seventh among Division I players with an average of 12.11 saves per game. DeLuca has registered 10 or more saves in three-straight games.
Mercer can capture the No. 1 seed and hosting duties in the upcoming Atlantic Sun Tournament with a victory on Saturday. The Bears are the league's only undefeated team, and hold a one-game lead in the loss column over High Point, Richmond and Jacksonville.
As a team, Mercer ranks inside the nation's top-20 teams in both man-up offense (18th) and shot percentage (19th). The Orange and Black have converted 18-of-42 (.429) extra-man opportunities and scored on 100-of-332 (.301) shot attempts.
The Bears lead the A-Sun in a myriad of offensive statistics, including goals per game (10.0), assists per game (6.1), points per game (16.1), shot percentage (.301), man-up goals per game (1.8), man-up scoring percentage (.429) and faceoff percentage (.554).
Sophomore JT Del Tufo leads Mercer's defense with 11 caused turnovers in seven games played. The Mooresville, N.C. has registered multiple caused turnovers in four games, highlighted by four in the season opening win against Boston University.