Jacksonville's Goal? 'Make a Statement to the Committee'

PHOTO COURTESY OF JACKSONVILLE ATHLETICS


Jacksonville was the story of February in Division I men’s lacrosse, stunning Duke on the road and then winning at Denver less than two weeks later.

The Dolphins haven’t let up in the two months since and will take a 13-2 record into next week’s Southern Conference tournament in High Point, N.C.

It’s not just the eight-game winning streak Jacksonville stitched together since an early March loss to Utah. It’s how the Dolphins have overwhelmed most of their opponents in that stretch while also fending off league contenders High Point and Richmond.

“That’s what we’ve been trying to do the past six, seven weeks — to make a statement to the committee,” Galloway said. “Wherever the chips may fall, and we understand lacrosse has a lot of variables, and we’re going to put our best foot forward every Saturday so that when people come into a room and have to make a decision about our program and where we’re headed, they have to think about the body of work over the last two months.”

Consider that during its winning streak, Jacksonville has trailed for a total of 24 minutes, 16 seconds. By contrast, it has led by double figures for 202:57 of a possible 480 minutes, and won six games by at least 12 goals.

In some ways, the 16-10 loss to Utah was one of the best things that could have happened to the Dolphins. They mustered only 20 shots on goal and played an overall undisciplined game just a week after getting back from the trip to Denver.

It hardly goes down as a bad loss — Utah ranks No. 19 in the RPI — but it still functioned as a wake-up call of sorts.

“We do have great respect for Utah and the way that they play, and I think they’re proving it within their conference, but I know our guys are motivated, that they felt on a nationally televised game for an opportunity to build on our momentum, we let one get away and that served as a reminder and an example of what happens if we don’t play the type of lacrosse we expect on a daily basis,” Galloway said.

Jacksonville hasn’t lost since, and it will have 12 days between its regular-season finale (a 17-5 rout of Mercer) and its conference tournament opener. The timing isn’t bad, since the Dolphins are in final exams this week and have graduation on Saturday.







As a result, May will be entirely about lacrosse for the program, and Galloway is counting on a veteran roster that includes nine graduate students, a senior and nine redshirt juniors to steer things as the Dolphins attempt to earn the first NCAA tournament berth in program history.

“The captains and the seniors are going to lead the rest of the way,” Galloway said. “We’ve kind of given the keys to those guys, because I believe we can’t monitor them enough right now and it has to be the guys in the locker room that know how quickly this can end if we don’t take care of our business.”

Indeed, that’s the top priority for Jacksonville. As impressive as the Dolphins have been, they currently sit at No. 24 in the RPI and No. 38 in the NCAA’s strength of schedule metric. Those are the sort of numbers that typically aren’t rewarded with at-large berths on Selection Sunday.

With two more victories, though, the metrics won’t matter and the Dolphins will earn a platform even bigger than the ones it took advantage of against Duke and Denver in the first month of the season.

“We control what we control, and it’s how we play next Thursday,” Galloway said. “And then if we have the opportunity to continue the season, we’re going to continue to make a statement that Jacksonville lacrosse was not a flash in the pan in February.”

NUMBERS OF NOTE

2

Division I programs that have had multiple players enjoy eight-goal games within the last six seasons. Tye Kurtz’s eight-goal showing against Drexel on Saturday, coupled with Mike Robinson’s nine-goal outing against Saint Joseph’s last season, put Delaware on the list. Georgetown has also had two different eight-goal scorers since 2017 — Daniel Bucaro (in 2019 against Yale) and Jake Carraway (in 2021 against Villanova).

3

Announced attendance figures of at least 5,000 fans on Saturday: Navy-Army (9,618), Maryland-Johns Hopkins (7,065) and Penn State-Rutgers (5,223). It matched the total number of crowds of at least 5,000 for the entire season prior to then. It also marks the first time three different sites drew at least 5,000 fans to Division I games since April 12, 2014, when Michigan-Ohio State (17,641), Navy-Army (10,774), Maryland-Johns Hopkins (9,553) and North Carolina-Syracuse (6,684) did so according to NCAA attendance data.

16

Goals allowed by Bucknell in Friday’s 19-16 defeat of Lafayette, the most the Bison have yielded in a victory since an 18-17 overtime defeat of Gettysburg in 1983. Coupled a 16-14 triumph over Mercer in its season opener, Bucknell has won both time it has allowed 14 or more goals this season.

21

Goals allowed by Syracuse in its 21-15 loss to Virginia, tied for the most it has ever allowed in the Carrier Dome. The Orange had allowed 21 there in two other occasions — a 22-21 victory over Virginia in 1997 and a 21-9 loss to North Carolina last season.

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