FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Sacred Heart University men's lacrosse team snapped a three-game slide with an 18-4 win over Wagner to open Northeast Conference play, Saturday evening at Campus Field. The Pioneers improved to 4-5 overall and 1-0 in the NEC, while the Seahawks dropped to 0-8 and 0-1.
For SHU head coach Tom Mariano, this was his 100th career win and 86th at the helm of the Pioneers. Tonight's game marked the first-ever contest for Sacred Heart competing in the NEC. This is the first season that the conference has sponsored men's lacrosse. Last season the Pioneers competed as a Division I independent.
Sophomore attack Eric Madigan (Ashburn, Va.), who sat out all of 2010, led the Sacred Heart offense with three goals and two assists in the team's highest offensive effort of the season.
Freshman Tom Sardelli (Rochester, Mich.) opened the scoring with a 15-yard snipe with 6:23 left in the first quarter. The Pioneers took a 2-0 lead at the end of the quarter with a goal from sophomore defender Pierce Bradley (Garden City, N.Y.) with only two ticks left on the clock. Bradley's goal was set up by a save by senior goalie Zach Frank (Islip Terrace, N.Y.) and a quick clear by midfielder Billy Skelos (Lynbrook. N.Y.).
Junior midfielder Matt Ferrino (Orchard Park, N.Y.) led off the second quarter with a man-up score in the first minute of play. Freshman Alex Miller (Ridgewood, N.J.) and sophomore Trevor Dauses (Glen Arm, Md.) extended the SHU lead to 5-0 before Wagner got on the board with a score from sophomore midfielder Colin O'Rourke, to take a 5-1 lead into the locker room.
The Sacred Heart offense exploded in the third quarter with four goals in the first six minutes of play to go up 9-2. Madigan got his first goal of the game 1:57 into the period, as he scooped up a groundball and fired the shot into the top shelf. He also scored his second and third goals of the game in the third quarter, both unassisted.
Sophomore attack Bryan Badolato (West Islip, N.Y.) tallied the first two goals of a seven-goal frame for the Pioneers in the fourth quarter. Badolato leads Sacred Heart in scoring with 28 points, including a team-high 10 assists and tied for a team-best 18 goals.
O'Rourke and junior attack Mike Hurley each scored twice for the Seahawks.
Thirteen difference Pioneers scored, while Sacred Heart outshot Wagner 42-32. SHU also held a 41-24 lead in groundballs and won 20 of 26 face-offs. Sophomore midfielder Stephen Kontos (Danvers, Mass.) won 16 face-offs in 21 tries, collected eight grounders, and scored a goal.
The Pioneers stay at home for their next contest as NEC play continues when Mount St. Mary's comes to Campus Field, Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm.