HAMDEN, Conn. – The Sacred Heart University men's lacrosse team has been plagued by poor third quarters over the last two weeks, but this week it was the first three quarters in an 18-9 loss at Northeast Conference rival Quinnipiac. The Pioneers scored only once in each of the first three frames, including being outscored 10-1 in the second, on their way to a third straight loss to drop to 4-8 overall and 1-3 in league play.
Sacred Heart trailed 16-2 late in the third, before the offense came alive. Freshman attack Bailey Dodds (Eden Prairie, Minn.) tallied his second goal on the rainy afternoon with 2:11 left in the third to awaken the Pioneer attack.
Dodds' goal was the first of seven-straight for SHU, as it would open the final stanza with each of the first six goals. However, it wasn't until the 6:19 mark that the Pioneers put another one on the board when sophomore midfielder Shane Foley (South Brunswick, N.H.) found the back of the net. A little more than a minute later, freshman attack Mike Mawdsley (Innisfil, Ont.) scored his second of the day, this one on the man-up.
With under three minutes to play, Dodds and Mawdsley each posted their third goal of the game, Mawdsley again on the man advantage. Sacred Heart went on to trim the Bobcat lead to 16-9 on goals by freshman long-stick Tim Caton (East Rochester, N.Y.) and junior attack Matt King (Brewster, N.Y.). The Pioneer rally was brought to a halt when Quinnipiac (5-6, 3-1 NEC) sealed the deal with scores from senior midfielder Billy Alessi and freshman attack Tom Gilligan to clinch a spot in the first-ever Northeast Conference men's lacrosse playoffs.
In the first quarter, QU got the first goal of the game at the 12:23 mark when senior attack Mike Gast registered a goal. SHU came right back with Mawdsley's first of the day to tie the game at one goal, apiece. The Bobcats went on to score seven-straight over a 12-minute span between the first and second. Senior attack Jack Oppenheimer scored three times for the Bobcats and classmate Christian Haggerty tallied a pair. Dodds broke up the string of seven in a row by Quinnipiac, only to have the Bobcats answer with eight in a row. The 10-1 scoring advantage in the second frame was all the separation QU needed in its nine-goal win.
Oppenheimer led the Quinnipiac attack with five goals and two assists for the day, while Haggerty added two goals and three assists. Freshman midfielder Dylan Webster chipped in with a hat trick, including the game-winner with roughly six minutes to play in the second quarter, and two helpers. For the Pioneers, freshman attack Cody Marquis (Londonderry, N.H.) recorded three assists. Mawdsley's hat trick was his sixth of the season and second in conference play, while Dodds posted the first of his career.
Senior Kevin Benzing started in goal for the Bobcats and provided 10 saves, while allowing four goals. In relief, sophomore Kyle Gilday and freshman Pat Murray gave up a total of five goals on five shots faced. On the other side, senior Zach Frank (Islip Terrace, N.Y.) also stopped 10, but gave up 16 in the loss for Sacred Heart.
Quinnipiac narrowly outshot the Pioneers 45-44 for the game and held a slight 40-36 edge in groundballs. SHU converted on two-of-eight man-up chances, while the Bobcats made good on three in six opportunities.
The Pioneers close out the regular season at Robert Morris, with a spot in the NEC playoffs on the line, Saturday April 30 at 1:00 pm.