Tag: Ridr Knowlton

Centre Looks To Capture Its Second-Straight SAA Title

Will Hubbs and the Centre College men’s lacrosse team are two wins away from capturing their second-straight SAA title. (PHOTO COURTESY: Teresa Poplin)

By Matt Noonan

Another busy and exciting weekend of NCAA Division III lacrosse has officially arrived with the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) set to crown a men’s lacrosse champion.  

The six-team tournament, which began last Saturday with a pair of quarterfinal matchups will resume later today with two semifinal contests with the winners advancing to Sunday’s championship in Danville, Kentucky.

Top-seed Centre College, which won all its league matchups this season, is two wins away from capturing its second-straight league title.

The Colonels will welcome Rhodes College to campus this evening with a face-off scheduled for 7 p.m.

Centre beat Rhodes earlier this month by a score of 11-4. Will Hubbs highlighted the win with four goals – he also scooped one ground ball – while Ridr Knowlton located the back of the net twice. In addition to the Colonels’ offensive output, Centre’s defense limited Rhodes to just one goal in two periods while pitching a shutout in the opening frame.

Since beating the Lynx, the Colonels have won two more games, beating Hendrix College (13-10) and Sewanee (16-9).

Centre has not competed in nearly two weeks, but perhaps the extra rest could help the Black and Gold, which captured its first SAA Tournament title since 2014 last spring when they beat Rhodes.

“It’s good in a sense that we get a little time to rest, recharge, and get healthy,” Centre coach Grant Zimmerman said, via CentreColonels.com.  

Rhodes has won two of its last four contests, including its SAA quarterfinal tilt with Berry College last weekend. The Lynx topped the Vikings, 19-10, and enter tonight’s semifinal matchup riding a two-game winning streak.

Coach Dave Zazzaro’s Lynx have won just four games this season but have faced some challenging competition that could help the Red and White attempt to claim its first postseason crown since 2018.

The other SAA semifinal pits Sewanee visiting Birmingham-Southern College with a face-off scheduled for 4 p.m. (ET).

Birmingham-Southern enters today’s semifinal match riding a four-game winning streak, which included an end-of-season victory over Rhodes.

Reid Harrison secured the two-goal (14-12) win over the Lynx by netting his second tally with 22 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, which halted a three-goal run by Rhodes.

Like Centre, Birmingham-Southern has not competed since April 14, so it will be interesting to see if the squad’s momentum remains with the Panthers, which saw its bid toward an SAA crown conclude last April in the conference semifinals.

The Tigers of Sewanee have won six games this spring and defeated Hendrix in its opening-round matchup last weekend. Luke Valentine led Sewanee with four goals and one assist to go with three ground balls and one caused turnover. Davis Gillenwater notched a hat trick and Phelps Thomas stuffed the stat sheet with five points on three assists, two goals, and one ground ball.

All three student-athletes will be players to watch today in an important matchup with the Panthers.

Look For Centre Men’s Lacrosse To Continue Its Momentum From 2021

Will Hubbs and the Centre College men’s lacrosse team were picked to capture the SAA crown this spring. (PHOTO COURTESY: Teresa Poplin)

By Matt Noonan

Last season, the Centre College men’s lacrosse team made history by winning their first-ever NCAA Division III Tournament game against Denison University.

The one goal (12-11) victory against the Big Red did not spark a deep postseason run but left an impression on many that Centre is indeed ready to compete for the ultimate prize: a national championship.

“I honestly believe that we put in the work necessary to win and it’s just an amazing feeling to actually see it come to fruition,” Coach Grant Zimmerman said shortly after his team beat Denison last May.

That hard work — and yes, effort, too — has translated into the Colonels securing the top spot in this year’s Southern Athletic Association (SAA) men’s lacrosse preseason poll, which was released last Friday. Centre collected four of seven first-place votes; Rhodes College garnered a pair of first-place nods while Berry College secured one tally.

Centre is deserving of four first-place votes — perhaps a few more, especially after an impressive 2021 campaign saw the squad win 12 of 14 contests while capturing its first SAA Tournament title since 2014.

But for the Colonels to duplicate their success this season, they will need to rely on some key members of last year’s squad, including Will Hubbs, a junior attack from Louisville, Kentucky, that led the SAA with 38 goals while registering eight hat tricks in 14 games.

Hubbs, who was named the SAA Offensive Player of the Year, is just one of a few players to watch on Centre this spring — fans of the Yellow and White should also keep their eyes on JR Brockman, Graham Robbins, and Will Morrison.

Centre will commence its 2022 campaign on Saturday, February 12 with a visit to Wittenberg University, a team that has won two of three meetings against the Colonels. Last March, the Yellow and White captured their first-ever win against the Tigers, thanks to Jack Shannon and Ridr Knowlton.

The victory over the Tigers was followed by seven consecutive league wins, including a pair of conference tournament victories against Berry and Rhodes.

Following their trip to Springfield, Ohio, Centre will conclude the first month with a pair of non-conference meetings with Elmhurst University and Ohio Wesleyan University. Both squads concluded their respective 2021 campaign with a winning record but did not qualify for the NCAA Division III Tournament.

As we know, every contest, both non-conference or conference, is important. And for Centre to continue its success from one year ago, scoring some early-season wins could help the squad to continue its yearly pursuit of winning a conference tournament title, along with a deep postseason run.