Lacrosse welcomes #12 Virginia Tech Friday

(scarboroughphotography.com)
(scarboroughphotography.com)

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BUIES CREEK, N.C. --- Campbell is set to welcome the first ranked opponent to Barker-Lane Stadium on Friday when No. 12 Virginia Tech will take on the Camels at 4 p.m. It will be CU's final non-conference game of the season.

Friday's contest will be broadcast on the Big South Network with Evan Budrovich and Sal Mercogliano on the call. Live stats will be available at gocamels.com and live in-game updates will also be posted on the Camels' Twitter page, @GoCamelsWLAX.

Free Sunni Sky's ice cream will also be available for 200 students in attendance courtesy of Campbell Creek Apartments.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

LAST TIME OUT: Richmond jumped out to a 6-0 lead en route to its 16-7 win over Campbell (3-5) last Sunday. Six Camels found the back of the cage led by two goals from Katie Matz. Campbell rallied to cut the deficit to four early in the second half, but a four-goal run for the Spiders quickly sealed the victory.

ON THE OFFENSE: Campbell features a balanced attack from a variety of scoring options. Nine different players have found the back of the cage for the Camels this season in an offense that is averaging 10.38 goals per game. That's currently the third-highest tally in the Big South.

LEADING THE WAY: Kayla Reilly and Melissa Placek are the leaders the Camel offense. Reilly has cumulated a team-high 31 points on 15 goals and 16 assists. She is averaging 2.00 assists per game, and that mark ranks second in the conference and 23rd nationally. Placek has a team-high17 goals and six assists to go with a team-high 39 draw controls. That's an average of 4.88 draws per contests, which ranks 26th nationally.

A LITTLE DEFENSIVE: Campbell's scoring defense stands second in in the league, as opponents are averaging 13.13 goals per game. The Camels feature a veteran defensive unit headlined by Big South Preseason Defensive Player of the year Erin O'Hara and fifth-year senior April Reinhart. Megan Reilly has also started every contest and Amanda Chasin has seen significant minutes. Allison Waldhauser made her first career start versus Richmond.

BETWEEN THE PIPES: Merredith Bechler has started all six games in the cage this season for the Camels. Her 0.387 save percentage ranks second in the Big South while her 7.88 saves per game and 58 total saves stands third. Bechler is the Camels' all-time leader for minutes and appearances in goal. Sophomore Kylie Haarhoff made her first appearance of the season versus La Salle and earned the win.

MAKING AN EARLY IMPACT: Numerous members of the Camels' freshman class have already made significant impacts early in their careers. Tina Ricci ranks third on the team in points with 16 on 10 goals and six assists. Sam Carey has started all six contests and ranks second on the team in draw controls with 24. Matz scored the game-winning goal versus La Salle while Maia Walters made her first career start versus the Explorers.

LIMITING MISCUES: CU is averaging the second fewest turnovers in the league with just 15.75 per game, which ranks 25th nationally

CONTROLING THE DRAW: Campbell is averaging 13.63 draw controls per contest. That tally also ranks second in the Big South and 33rd nationally.

HEAD COACH DAWN EASLEY: Campbell head coach Dawn Easley is in her fourth season in Buies Creek after leading the Camels to the most successful season in program history last year. She coached CU to its first postseason victory to advance to the Big South semifinals. Easley has mentored 12 All-Big South honorees in three years at Campbell.

CAMELS PICKED THIRD: Campbell received its highest preseason billing in program history when the Big South coaches picked the Camels to finish third in the league standings. High Point was tabbed as the preseason favorites followed by defending champions Winthrop in second.

ALL-TIME SERIES: The Camels and Hokies will be squaring off for the first time on Friday. VT will be the second team from the ACC Campbell will play after opening last season at Duke.

SCOUTING THE HOKIES: Virginia Tech (10-2) is looking to finish a perfect 5-0 in non-conference road contests today. The Hokies bring a high powered offense to the Creek with an average of 14.83 goals per game (9th NCAA). VT also owns the fourth-best scoring defense in the country, giving up an average of just 7.58 goals per game. Tristan McGinley ranks fourth nationally in goals (38) while Hokie net minder Meagh Graham ranks sixth nationally in goals-against average (7.94). Mary Claire Byrne sits ninth nationally in caused turnovers (2.60 per game).

LOOKING AHEAD: The Camels will open their seven-game Big South slate on Saturday, April 1 when they host defending champions Winthrop.