Flames finish season ranked No. 3 in MCLA Division II
May 22, 2013 | Lynchburg, Va.
Following its first Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association Division II national tournament appearance, where it advanced to the Final Four before losing to defending and eventual champion St. Thomas, 10-9 in overtime, Liberty University bumped up one spot from No. 4 to No. 3 in the final national poll, released Tuesday.
"They went on to win it all again so it showed us how close we were," Flames head coach Kyle McQuillan said. "The biggest thing we took away from that was the fact that we were the first Southeast Lacrosse Conference team from either division I or II to make it as far as the semis since 2006. We were able to show teams we are for real and that should help pave the way for us as we move up to Division I next year."
The Flames (18-2), whose only other loss was at Richmond, an MCLA Division I team moving up to the NCAA Division I level next year, received 407 points in voting done by coaches. They swapped spots with St. John's (Minn., 405 points), a 9-8 loser to second-ranked, eventual runner-up Westminster in the other semifinal.
Liberty also landed three players on the all-tournament team (senior attackman Joe Gargiulo, freshman faceoff specialist Charles Fianko, and junior defender Nathan Lowmaster) and had six others receive All-American recognition — freshman attack Ryan Miller (first team), freshman midfielder Bryce Mrakovich and sophomore goalie Ethan Kamholtz (second team), junior attack Kurt Tobias (third team), and Lowmaster and senior long-stick middie Mike Zumpano (honorable mention).
Additionally, Miller and Mrakovich were named MCLA scholar athletes for 2013.
The Flames received an automatic bid to nationals by winning their first Southeast Lacrosse Conference tournament championship after edging defending champion Elon to clinch their first SELC North West Region regular-season title.
Miller also was named the SELC rookie of the year after leading MCLA Division II in both goals (67) and points (105).
He was one of five Flames named to the all-SELC first team along with Mrakovich, Zumpano, and Kamholtz, the defensive MVP of the SELC tournament. Tobias and Lowmaster earned second-team status and Gargiulo, the tournament's offensive MVP, and midfielder Derek Haywood received honorable mention recognition.
Miller, Mrakovich, Haywood, Lowmaster, Fianko, Zumpano, and junior defender Travis Briggs also made the SELC all-tournament team.
"As a coaching staff and as players, we had high hopes and expectations of doing well this season," McQuillan said. "In terms of what was expected of us from our league and at the national level, we did overachieve."