By Nick Porter
BUENA VISTA, Va. — The Southern Virginia University men's lacrosse team wrapped up the 2017 season in a similar fashion as last year, landing a spot in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament and being paired with Christopher Newport in the first round.
In the playoff meeting in 2016, the Captains topped the Knights 19-5. This year, the Knights cut the deficit, falling to CNU 14-8 to conclude the season.
"I'm extremely proud of our effort this year," commented head coach Jason Lamb. "We felt like we had a bigger leap forward than our record shows, but we advanced our prgram and made it more difficult for teams to beat us."
Despite the similarities in the final game, the Knights had a different season. To start the year the team was able to top CAC opponent Marymount 16-14 in the season opener. Last year the Knights fell 14-12 to the Saints.
In March, Southern Virginia earned back-to-back wins with an overtime triumph over Bridgewater before the biggest winning margin of the year, 14-6, over Birmingham Southern.
Conference wins came on the road at St. Mary's (Md.) and Wesley College. The Knights, who had the 47th toughtest schedule in Division III were unable to win while playing at home.
The Knights' career leading scorer, Casey Rich (Buffalo, N.Y.), led the team with 48 goals this season. He also added 14 assists as the number-one marked man in the CAC.
Anthony Good (The Woodlands, Texas), Spencer Tunick (Easton, Conn.), and Brady Cook (Union Bridge, Md.) rounded out the double-digit goal scorers with 24, 21, and 13, respectively. Cook was second on the team with 15 assists, and also picked up 34 ground balls.
In the middle, Logan Lund (Holladay, Utah) won 47.4% of faceoffs and led the team with 88 ground balls.
Freshman Carson Franklin (Charlottesville, Va.) and sophomore Ian Arave (Houston, Texas) split most of the time in goal. Franklin earned three wins in 491 minutes with 84 saves. Arave, who played 333 minutes in goal, finished with the fifth-best save percentage in the CAC (51.5), and earned three wins with 86 saves.
The Knights lose seniors Ryan Larsen (Mesa, Ariz.), Greg Gowdy (Newport Beach, Calif.), and Ciaran Giroux (Annapolis, Md.). Larsen scored nine goals this season, Gowdy and Giroux helped lock down the defense and post the second straight six-win season.
Shawn Lamb (Buena Vista, Va.) was named CAC Rookie of the Year after breaking the Southern Virginia single-season scoring record by a freshman with 47 goals. He was the only freshman to earn all-conference recognition. He also dished 30 assists and was named CAC Offensive Player of the Week in March.
"I'm proud of Shawn, both as a father and coach," Lamb said. "It's a great thing to have back-to-back rookies of the year."