No. 4 Flames face No. 6 Palm Beach in tonight's SELC opener
April 26, 2013 | Marietta, Ga.
As regular-season champions of the Southeast Lacrosse Conference's North West Region, Liberty University's men's lacrosse team got the toughest draw possible for tonight's first round of the SELC Division II tournament.
The Flames (13-1, 4-0 SELC North West), who moved up to No. 4 in the latest Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association Division II poll, will face Palm Beach Atlantic (10-1, 2-1 SELC South East, ranked No. 6 in the MCLA) in the quarterfinals of the tournament, starting at 5:30 p.m. at Pope High School in Marietta, Ga., just north of Atlanta.
"It's not our choice," Liberty head coach Kyle McQuillan said, noting two MCLA-ranked teams the Flames beat this year, No. 8 Elon and No. 22 Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) will face one another in another quarterfinal match. "Palm Beach is the highest-ranked team we've played all season. But you have to beat the best to be the best. We haven't lost to a Division II team all year. It definitely will be a good test for us."
The Flames will be without freshman defender Brandt Grauss, a regular starter who aggravated a hamstring injury during practice last week.
"Palm Beach is so aggressive and has one of the best offensive attacks in the SELC, so not having him as an option will hurt," McQuillan said.
Interestingly, Palm Beach is the first team Liberty played when the program was reinstated in 2010, also at a tournament in Atlanta.
"It shows how we have come full-circle," McQuillan said, noting the team lost decisively in that first meeting but is favored tonight.
This is the Flames' last season competing in Division II of the SELC before moving up to Division I next year.
If Liberty can win the rematch with Palm Beach, it will face the winner between The Citadel and Emory in Saturday's semifinals at noon at Northview High School in Johns Creek, Ga., also the site of Sunday's noon championship game.
The semifinal and championship games will be webcast live on lax.tv.