Pioneers Open Conference Play Saturday at Bryant

SACRED HEART (3-5) VS. BRYANT (6-2)

Game 09 * Smithfield, R.I. * 1:00 p.m.

Live Stats * Live Video

Setting the Scene… The Sacred Heart men's lacrosse team opens Northeast Conference play on Saturday in Smithfield, R.I. against the Bryant Bulldogs. The Pioneers suffered a loss to St. John's last weekend 13-8, their first game decided by more than three goals. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, are on a hot streak having won their last five games.

Last Time Out… The Sacred Heart men's lacrosse team was outscored 9-2 in the second half Saturday night on their way to a 13-8 loss to St. John's on Campus Field to close out non-conference play.  Sophomore Cody Marquis (Londonberry, N.H.) and senior Aaron Lupo (Schenectady, N.Y.) led the Pioneers with two goals a piece in the loss. Sacred Heart's record falls to 3-5 overall, while the Red Storm improve to 5-3 with the win. SHU went into the second half with a 6-4 lead before being rendered scoreless in the third quarter. The Red Storm defense was hard at work in the third, holding the Pioneers to just six shots. St. John's goalkeeper Jeff Lowman recorded nine saves in the second half en route to a 12-save game. Leach, Kieran McArdle and Charlie Holenstein all scored within a four-minute span to give St. John's a 7-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Sophomore goalie Ryan Hughes (Bayport, N.Y.) continued his double-digit saves streak as he recorded all 10 of Sacred Heart's saves in the loss.

Pioneer News and Notes… Saturday's game against St. John's marked the first game this season that was decided bythree or more goals… Goalkeeper Ryan Hughes (Bayport, NY) continued his double-digit save streak, stopping 10 shots in the 13-8 loss to St. John's. He has now made 10 or more saves in seven straight games… The Pioneers closed out non-conference play with a 3-5 record, most recently going 1-1 this past week… Aaron Lupo (Schenectady, NY) and Cody Marquis (Londonberry, NH) led the Pioneers on the week with four goals and two assists apiece… Sacred Heart leads the NEC in man-up goals averaging 1.62 per game… Matt Gannon (Huntington, NY) averaging 2.14 assists sits atop the league ranks… Matt Ferrino (Orchard Park, NY) and Mike Mawdsley (Innisfil, On.) are No. 1 and 2 in the NEC when it comes to man-up goals. Ferrino is averaging 0.62 while Mawdsley records .50 per game.

All-Time vs. Bryant… The Pioneers have never taken a game against Bryant in the three previous meetings. The first time the teams saw each other in 2009, the Bulldogs topped Sacred Heart 22-8 for their first Division I victory. Most recently, the Pioneers battled, but Bryant still edged out a 9-7 win.

Last Meeting with Bryant… For the second straight game, the Sacred Heart men's lacrosse team held a one-goal lead over a Northeast Conference opponent at the half and for the second straight game, the Pioneers went scoreless in the third quarter, this time spelling a 9-7 loss to Bryant University at home last season.  Netminder Jameson Love needed only six saves to earn the win for the Bulldogs, who outshot the Pioneers 43-23 for the game.  Senior goalie Zach Frank (Islip Terrace, N.Y.) stopped 12 shots for SHU.

Scouting the Bulldogs… After defeating Providence College 9-4 on Tuesday, Bryant is on a five-game winning streak, and carry a 6-2 record. Both losses came in the first three games of the season when the Bulldogs fell 10-8 to Colgate to open the season, and 9-8 to Fairfield in double overtime. Bryant is ranks first in the Northeast Conference in ground balls, shots, man-up scoring percentage, saves percentage, saves, caused turnovers, and goals against average. Collin Dunster, who is second in the NEC in goals, leads the offense with 18 goals so far this season. Kevin Massa, this week's NEC Rookie of the Week, leads the league in ground balls and faceoff percentage. Goalkeeper Jameson Love was named this week's NEC Defensive Player of the Week and leads the league in goals against average and saves per game.

Around the NEC… Robert Morris and Bryant picked up a midweek wins. The Colonials topped Canisus 15-11 on Tuesday, while the Bulldogs picked up the 9-4 win over the in-state Providence College Friars. Bryant earned a pair of NEC nods as Goalie Jameson Love won Defensive Player of the Week and Kevin Massa was named Rookie of the Week. Andrew Scalley of Mount St. Mary's was earned the title of NEC Offensive Player of the Week after he scored two goals and dished out two assists to lead the Mount to its third win of the season. Everyone opens NEC play this Saturday.