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ASUN Tournament Preview: The Championship

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Jacksonville University men’s lacrosse team is set to face Utah in the ASUN Championship game on Sunday (May 5) at 1:00 p.m. ET looking to avenge its lone conference loss of the season and capture the program’s first ASUN tournament championship.

The pair have been on a collision course since the regular season meeting, as Utah has won eight straight games while Jacksonville has won seven.

Utah (11-4, 8-1 ASUN)
The Utah Lacrosse team is set for its third straight ASUN Championship game appearance, earning the top-seed in the tournament after the tiebreaker, a two goal victory over the Dolphins. 

A similar path got the Utes to the title game, starting 0-3 with a tough non-conference schedule before rolling in ASUN play, falling in just one game, a one-goal loss to Air Force. 

Utah leads the ASUN in caused turnovers (10.00) and ground balls per game (34.40), and in scoring margin (+5.07) and scoring offense (15.27). Utah is only committing 13.93 turnovers per game, which ranks fourth nationally and first in the ASUN. 

Jacksonville (13-4, 8-1 ASUN)
The Dolphins have thrived after a 1-3 start, winning 10 of its final 11 regular season games, kickstarting one of the nation’s best statistical offenses while continuing to produce elite defensive performances in conference play. Jacksonville did not allow an opponent to score in the double-digits in April, averaging 18.4 goals per game offensively in that time span. 

JU features an unselfish offense, with the Dolphins assisting on 74% (68/92) of goals scored during its five-game winning streak to close out the regular season. The offensive production begins with success on faceoff opportunities, with the Dolphins winning the faceoff battle in 11 of 15 games, including seven of the last eight.

Players to Watch
Utah – Utah is the only team in the NCAA that has two players ranked in the top-10 nationally in caused turnovers per game, with Nikko DiPonio tied for seventh in the NCAA (2.00) and Joey Boylston sitting in a tie for ninth (1.93). 

Ryan Stines is the main scorer for the Utes, owning 42 goals with 17 assists, just ahead of Jordan Hyde who has 39 goals on the year. Tyler Bradbury helps Stines and Hyde create the offensive production, leading the team in assists with 26 while scoring 27 goals this season.

Jacksonville – Ryan Della Rocco has contributed significantly to a top-end defensive unit, leading the ASUN in goals against average and save percentage.

A three-headed trio leads the Dolphins offensively, with Jacob GreinerJackson Intrieri, and Nicky Brown feeding off each other on the offensive end. Nathan Kapp is a dynamic faceoff specialist, leading the conference in ground balls and faceoff win percentage.

The Numbers
Jacksonville – The Dolphins rank inside the top 25 in 12 statistical categories nationally. JU ranks fourth in assists per game, seventh in points per game and 10th in scoring margin. It features the 12th-best scoring defense and the 13th-best scoring offense in the country.

Utah – The Utes rank eighth in the NCAA and first in the ASUN in caused turnovers per game with their 153 total CTOs setting the single-season record at Utah. Through the first seven games, Utah was only averaging 5.85 assists per game. In the last eight games, Utah has been averaging 11.92.

The Utes rank first in the ASUN and 13th nationally in ground balls per game, averaging 34.40. Utah averaged 36.22 ground balls in ASUN play and has had 40+ in three straight

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