FAIRFIELD, Conn. - Sacred Heart opens the first season of Northeast Conference men's lacrosse with a 7:00 pm game under the lights at Campus Field against Wagner on Saturday afternoon.
About the Pioneers... After starting the season 3-2, Sacred Heart has lost three straight and dropped to 3-5 overall after giving season-highs in goals for back-to-back games. Sophomore attack Bryan Badolato leads the Pioneers in scoring with 26 points on 16 goals and a team-high 10 assists. Freshman attack Mike Mawdsley is the team's top scorer at 18 to go with four helpers. Classmate Cody Marquis had his seven-game point scoring streak snapped after failing to record a point at St. John's, Saturday. Sophomore midfielder Stephen Kontos has picked up a team-best 40 groundballs, while winning 88 face-offs. In net, senior goalie Zach Frank has started all eight games between the pipes and owns a .574 save percentage, on 108 saves, and a 10.19 goals against average. Tonight's game marks the first official NEC game for the Pioneers after competing as an independent in 2010, while previously playing in the CAA and MAAC.
Scouting the Seahawks... Wagner is winless so far this season, as it enters the weekend 0-7. Last season the Seahawks, coming off a 13-6 loss at home to Hartford, faced all five NEC opponents and went 0-5 in the unofficial league standings, while the Pioneers were 1-4. Leading Wagner on the attack is sophomore attack Cody Isdaner with 23 total points, including 17 goals. Second in scoring is freshman attack Sam Morrissey with nine goals and four helpers. Fellow freshman Nicholas Gabaldi has spent the majority of the season in the cage and owns a .476 save percentage and 15.23 goals against average.
Last Time Out... The Pioneers dropped their third straight contest with a 15-7 loss at St. Johns, last Saturday. The game marked the final non-conference tilt on the schedule for Sacred Heart. Freshman attack Kevin Cernuto led the St. John's attack with four goals and an assist. Classmate Kieran McArdle also netted a hat trick and assist. For SHU, Mawdsley tallied his fourth hat trick of the season to lead the Pioneers. Badolato added two scores to improve his team-leading point total to 26. Junior midfielder Aaron Lupo and Matt Ferrino each found the back of the net once, in the loss. In net for the Johnnies, sophomore goalie Jeff Lowman provided eight saves to earn the victory, while Frank, his counterpart, took the loss in a 12-save effort. Freshman netminder Alex Dvoretsky appeared in net for the third time in the last five games off the bench for the Pioneers. The Red Storm outshot Sacred Heart 41-32 for the game and aheld a 33-23 lead in grounders. St. John's also scored twice on the man-up, while SHU was held scoreless in three ties.
Last Time They Met... Sacred Heart ended a four-game losing streak to win its second game of the 2010 season with a 10-5 win at Wagner last season. The Seahawks led early with the first two goals of the game, but the Pioneers came back to tie it with goals from Matt Ferrino and Timmy Katz before the end of the first. Evan Morgan gave SHU the lead 1:27 into the second with a man-up goal. After Wagner's Will Macumber tied the game a minute later, the Pioneers answered with three goals, two by Jon Flood, and never looked back. Chris Casey and Bryan Badolato scored twice each for Sacred Heart. Tom Trgo stopped 11 shots for the Red & White. Mike Scheerer tallied two scores for the Seahawks.
All-Time vs. Wagner... The Pioneers have never fallen to the Seahawks in seven previous tries. Sacred Heart and Wagner have faced off in each of the last four seasons to give SHU a 7-0 advantage in series history. All seven games have come in Sacred Heart's Division I era and have never given up double digit goals to the Seahawks, while scoring 20 or more three times.
On This Date... Sacred Heart is 3-1 all-time when playing on April 2. Most recently, the Pioneers defeated Quinnipiac, at home, 14-10 in 2008. The only other game in the D-I era was a 15-11 loss at Deleware in 2005.
Top 50... Senior goalie Zach Frank ranked for 16th in save percentage at .574. In scoring, sophomore Bryan Badolato is in a three-way tie for 22nd at 3.25 points per game, tied for 41st in goals per game at 2.00. Freshman Mike Mawdsley is the team's highest ranked goal scorer with 2.25 goals per game to place him 25th in the nation. Sophomore face-off specialist Stephen Kontos was 20th in the country with 5.00 groundballs per game and 28th with a win percentage of .533. Badolato and Mawdsley have also cracked the top 50 rankings in shot percentage at .372 and .367, respectively.
Up Next... Conference play continues for the Pioneers as they host two more games at Campus Field, over the course of the next two weeks, against Mount St. Mary's and Quinnipiac.