Men's Lacrosse Preview: Keene St. visits for Bates' first-ever NCAA tournament game

The Bates men's lacrosse team was all smiles after its 22-10 victory over Colby on April 22, 2015. (File photo by Josh Kuckens/Bates College) 

LEWISTON, Maine -- Originally built in 1899, Garcelon Field will host its first-ever Bates postseason contest, and perhaps the biggest audience ever for a Bates men's lacrosse game is expected at Wednesday night's NCAA Division III First Round contest between the Bobcat men's lacrosse team and the Keene State Owls.

Garcelon has been home to Bates men's and women's lacrosse only since the 2011 season, following its extensive renovation in 2010; Bates football, like its NESCAC peers, does not participate in postseason play.

The Particulars

Who: Bates College Bobcats (10-5) vs. Keene State College Owls (12-4)

What: NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship, First Round

When: Wednesday, May 6, 2015; 7:00 p.m.

Where: Garcelon Field, Bates College | Lewiston, Maine

Tickets: Bates is charging the NCAA-mandated minimum ticket price of $3 for adults and $2 for students. Tickets will be available for sale at the field beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Opponents' NCAA Tournament History: Keene State is playing in its sixth NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship and has a 2-5 all-time record in the tournament. The Owls also made the tournament in 2005, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2014.

Bates is playing in the tournament for the first time.

Opponents' All-Time Series: Bates 5, Keene State 3. The Bobcats and Owls have faced each other in each of the past eight seasons; Bates has won the past four meetings, after Keene State won three of the first four.

Opponents' Last Meeting: Bates junior Jack Allard (Ridgewood, N.J.) scored a career-high seven goals with two assists, and sophomore Andrew Melvin (Medfield, Mass.) dished out a career-high six assists as the Bates men's lacrosse team defeated host Keene State 17-11 on March 25, dropping the Owls to 3-4 and raising Bates' record to 4-3.

Allard scored in every quarter, and Bates outshot Keene State in every quarter for a 51-34 edge in shot attempts. Senior Jack Strain (Montclair, N.J.) scored three goals with one assist for Bates. Sophomore Kyle Weber (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) posted a goal with two assists, sophomore Charlie Fay (Falmouth, Maine) scored twice, and senior Evan Chen (Katonah, N.Y.) pitched in a goal and an assist. Junior Joe Faria (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.) had 15 saves in net for Bates, and sophomore Sam Francis (Newburyport, Mass.) won 16 of 25 faceoffs, leading the Bobcats to a 20-12 overall advantage in that category.

Rob Hart led the Owls with three goals and one assist. Hunter Arnold and Tyler McKelvie added two scores apiece, and Dylan Florian was credited with 18 saves in goal.

Keene State at a Glance: The Owls won the 2015 Little East Conference title 23-12 over Eastern Connecticut on Saturday, their second straight LEC crown. They had a 17-7 win over Western Connecticut in the conference semifinal. KSC posted a 7-0 conference record and haven't lost since the Bates game on March 25.

The high-flying Owls scored 17.06 goals per game this season, including a 19.29 average in conference games. Sophomore Rob Hart leads six players with more than 40 points apiece, with 55 goals and 24 assists (79 points). Other primary scorers include junior Tyler McKelvie (58-15-73), sophomore Tyler Reilly (52-17-69), seniro Ryan Hart (35-32-67, first-year Hunter Arnold (24-20-44) and sohpomore Bryan Rotatori (18-24-42).

Sophomore Dylan Florian is the Owls' starting goalkeeper and has allowed 11.30 goals per game with a .562 save percentage. Senior James Dowd has taken the majority of KSC's faceoffs, winning 208 of 410 (.512).

Keene State is ranked No. 9 in this week's New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Division III poll.

Bates at a Glance: Bates earned an at-large berth in the 32-team field of the NCAA tournament with a 10-5 record, including a 6-1 mark since April 1. Signature victories this season include a 12-8 triumph over Tufts on April 7, a 14-9 victory over Middlebury on April 11, and a 14-11 win at Wesleyan in the NESCAC Championship quarterfinals on April 25.

The Bobcats have proven to be a terrific all-around team, particularly in the second half of the season. The Bobcats allow only 9.13 goals per game, ranking first in the NESCAC in that category, and also have three of the top six goal-scorers in the conference on a per-game basis, in Fay (3.22), Allard (2.80) and Strain (2.40). Faria allows 9.12 goals per game and maintains a .575 save percentage.

Bates is ranked No. 12 in this week's USILA national Division III poll, and No. 4 in this week's NEILA poll.

NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship Digital Guide

NCAA Interactive Bracket