Lacrosse hosts Gardner-Webb in home finale Saturday

The 2017 Camel seniors (L-R) Erin O'Hara, Merredith Bechler, April Reinhart
The 2017 Camel seniors (L-R) Erin O'Hara, Merredith Bechler, April Reinhart

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BUIES CREEK, N.C. --- Campbell will play its final regular season home game at Barker-Lane Stadium on Saturday afternoon when it hosts Gardner-Webb at 1 p.m. The Camels are looking to continue their best start to Big South Conference play in program history.

Campbell sits in a tie atop the league standings with a perfect 4-0 conference record and is over .500 overall for the first time this season (7-6) after winning its last four games. Prior to the game, the Camels will honor their three seniors Merredith Bechler, Erin O'Hara and April Reinhart, along with senior managers Blake Autrey and Annie Cook.

Saturday'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. Admission to the game is free.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

LAST TIME OUT: Melissa Placek scored a career-high seven goals to lead CU to a 16-13 victory at Longwood on Wednesday. Placek's scoring tally matched the highest output this season by a Big South player and was the most goals scored in conference play. The Camels scored five of the first six goals in the second half and held off a late Lancer rally to claim their fourth-straight win.

ON THE OFFENSE: Campbell features a balanced attack from a variety of scoring options. 11 different players have found the back of the cage for the Camels this season in an offense that is averaging 11.54 goals per game. That's currently the third-highest tally in the Big South.

LEADING THE WAY: Kayla Reilly and Placek are the leaders the Camel offense. Reilly has cumulated a team-high 50 points on 22 goals and 28 assists. She is averaging 2.15 assists per game, which stands second in the conference and 22nd nationally. Placek has a team-high 36 goals and 10 assists to go with a team-high 65 draw controls. That's an average of 5.00 draws per contests, which also ranks second in the BSC and 23rd nationally.

A LITTLE DEFENSIVE: Campbell's scoring defense stands second in the league, as opponents are averaging 12.85 goals per game. The Camels feature a veteran defensive unit headlined by Big South Preseason Defensive Player of the year O'Hara and fifth-year senior Reinhart. Megan Reilly has also started every game and Amanda Chasin has seen significant minutes. Allison Waldhauser has started the past four contests.

BETWEEN THE PIPES: Bechler has started 12 games in goal, but all three Camel goalkeepers have seen time in the cage this season. Bechler owns a 0.401 save percentage, which ranks fourth in the Big South, while Her 7.58 saves per game and 12.37 goals against average both stand third. Alex Salim has appeared in three games and has nine saves while Kylie Haarhoff started versus Virginia Tech and earned the win over La Salle.

EARLY IMPRESSIONS: 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 30 on 16 goals and 14 assists. Sam Carey has started every contest and ranks second on the team in draw controls with 46. Katie Matz has scored in eight of 11 games she has appeared and netted the game-winning goal versus La Salle.

LIMITING MISCUES: CU is averaging the fewest turnovers in the league with just 15.62 miscues per game, which ranks 22nd nationally.

CONTROLLING THE DRAW: Campbell is averaging 14.62 draw controls per contest. That tally ranks second in the Big South and 19th nationally.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: During Campbell's four-game conference winning streak, the Camels are averaging 23.75 points per game, which ranks second in the league. CU is scoring 15.50 goals per game and giving up just 10.75 goals per game. The Camels are needing just 7.75 saves per contest while their goalkeepers' save percentage sits at .419 (4th BSC).

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 in its first postseason victory to advance to its first 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: Campbell has won both previous meetings over Gardner-Webb since the Bulldogs began play in the 2015 season. The Camels scored 20 goals in each of the victories and won by double-digits in each contest.

SCOUTING THE RUNNIN' BULLDOGS: Gardner-Webb (0-14, 0-4 BSC) has still yet to crack the win column this season, and GWU sits last in the conference in scoring offense (7.00 gpg) and defense (19.86). The Runnin' Bulldogs do limit their turnovers, as their 18.38 miscues sit fourth in the Big South. Amanda Steinmuller leads GWU with 48 points and 32 goals, and both rank third in the league.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Camels take on Big South co-leaders High Point on the road next Wednesday night. The crucial matchup is set for a 6 p.m. opening draw.