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Goucher men's lacrosse in Landmark race despite losing pair of starters

Goucher, which has qualified for all seven Landmark Conference tournaments, is in the thick of the race again, tying Susquehanna and Scranton for second place with identical 2-1 league records.

But the Gophers (7-3 overall) have persevered without the services of a pair of starters. Junior defenseman Nathan Cain tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in a 9-8 loss against McDaniel on March 4 and is out for the remainder of the season. Cain had had recorded nine ground balls and seven caused turnovers in five starts.

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Cain's injury opened the door for junior Blake Russell, a Pasadena resident and a Northeast-AA graduate, to join senior Thomas Rakes and junior Andrew Foster as starters. Russell, who started all 15 games in 2014, has posted 15 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers thus far.

Goucher has a fourth defenseman in freshman Peter Cost and three long-stick midfielders in senior Ethan Haddaway (Mount St. Joseph's) and freshmen Logan Winn and C.J. Young (South Carroll), and the defense has some flexibility to move players around, according to coach Brian Kelly.

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"The good thing about where we are is we do have some depth and some guys that have been able to step in and make some plays," Kelly said Wednesday morning. "That's what we talked about earlier this year. We're a little bit deeper."

The team also has played without junior faceoff specialist Tristan Morris, who also tore his ACL in a 7-6 win against King's on March 7. Morris had won 51.8 percent (58-of-112) of his draws, picked up 23 ground balls, and scored two goals.

Kelly has turned to junior Andrew Schwartz and freshman Chris Lasprogata to fill the void. Schwartz has won 46 percent (29-of-63) of his faceoffs, and Lasprogata has won 61.5 percent (8-of-13).

"We've been average at the X, but it's certainly better than being at 20 percent," Kelly said. "So we're plugging guys in, and there's not a big drop-off, which is good."

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