Pioneers Win NEC Opener at Robert Morris 9-7

Brian Masi

MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Led by two goals apiece from Cody Marquis (Londonderry, N.H.) and Brian Masi (Smithtown, N.Y.), the Sacred Heart men's lacrosse team won its Northeast Conference opener at Robert Morris 9-7 at Joe Walton Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Alex Miller (Ridgewood, N.J.) also had two points on Saturday, recording a goal and an assist. Miller also had four ground balls. Joe Kemp (Troy, Mich.) won nine of his 17 faceoffs and had seven ground balls. Ryan Hughes (Bayport, N.Y.) made 14 saves in goal for his first win of the season.

Robert Morris (4-5, 1-3 NEC) got on the board early Saturday when Eric Rankel scored 2:16 into the game. Sacred Heart (2-6, 1-0 NEC) responded with Miller's 12th goal of the season, tying the game 1-1 with 7:49 to play in the opening quarter. The Colonials took back the lead 34 seconds later as Taylor Graves fired home a James Rahe pass to give Robert Morris a 2-1 lead. The defenses then took over for the remainder of the quarter as Sacred Heart goalie Ryan Hughes (Bayport, N.Y.) and his counterpart Brian Bohn each made two saves to keep the score 2-1 heading into the second quarter.

The Colonials extended their lead to three early in the second quarter, as goals by Cody Nass and Luke Laskiewicz put Robert Morris ahead 4-1 with 10:36 remaining in the half. The Pioneers responded with a three-goal run to end the half. Masi opened the run with a goal at the 8:53 mark, assisted by Miller. Mike Mawdsley (Innisfil, Ont.) then scored less than a minute later to get the Pioneers within one, 4-3. With 5:01 remaining in the half, Sacred Heart tied the game 4-4 on Alec Dauses' (Glen Arm, Md.) first goal of the season. The score remained tied heading into the half as both goalies again made a pair of saves each at the end of the quarter.

Sacred Heart took its first lead of the game less than two minutes into the third quarter. Alex Dodge (Smithtown, N.Y.) scored at the 13:07 mark to give the Pioneers' a 5-4 lead. That advantage, however, was short lived. Graves scored with 10:46 remaining in the third to tie the game at 6-6. The Pioneers took advantage of Robert Morris hitting two goal posts to get back in the lead. Sacred Heart fired five straight shots before Marquis scored with 1:50 to play in the quarter, putting the Pioneers in front 6-5.

Marquis scored again to open the fourth quarter, making the score 7-5 with 13:13 to play in the game. Masi added his second of the game two minutes later to cap off another three-goal run for the Pioneers, giving Sacred Heart an 8-5 lead. Robert Morris got within two, 8-6, at the 8:17 mark of the fourth on a JonPatrik Kealey goal. The Pioneers had two chances to get the lead back to two, but shots by Miller and Matt Gannon (Huntington, N.Y.) were stopped by Bohn. Robert Morris closed to within one with 2:33 to play on a Rankel goal, putting the score at 8-7. Sacred Heart won the ensuing faceoff and got a goal from Bryce Jurk (Burlington, Ont.) to make the score 9-7 with 1:17 to play, putting the game out of reach for the Colonials.

Sacred Heart was outshot 46-41 for the game as Robert Morris also held a slight edge in ground balls 31-29. The two sides both won 10 faceoffs and were scoreless on the extra-man.

The Pioneers return to Campus Field on Wednesday, April 2 to host #12 Bryant at 7 p.m.