April 28, 2007

Pioneers Close Season with 15-14 Win Over Villanova on `Senior Day'

April 28, 2007

Final Stats

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (April 28, 2007) - The Sacred Heart Pioneers got four points each from seniors Michael Collins (Auburn, NY) and Peter Greco (Hamburg, NY) and four goals from sophomore Bobby Rushton (West Islip, NY) on the road to a 15-14 Colonial Athletic Association win over Villanova in the season finale Saturday afternoon.

The Pioneers clawed their way out of a 4-0 first quarter hole to lead 7-6 at the end of one and scored four in the fourth to jump in front for good en route to the win. SHU ends the 2007 season 4-8 overall and 2-4 in the CAA. The Wildcats close the year at 7-7 and 2-4 in league play.

Villanova stormed out of the gates and wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as Eric Heidenberger took a pass of the opening face-off and scored his first of three on the day just seven seconds in. Goals by Chris MacDonald, Heidenberger and Matthew Fritts followed and the Wildcats held a 4-0 lead just five minutes in.

The Pioneers got their offense on track and answered with a three goal run started by freshman Evan Morgan (Asburn, VA) unassisted and followed by a pair off the stick of junior Tony Tanzi (Mahopac, NY) to pull within 4-3 with 5:34 on the clock. The two teams traded goals on their next possessions to give Villanova a 6-4 lead with 3:58 left in the quarter.

SHU got another rally started off the face-off as Rushton scored the first of his four unassisted followed by Greco and Collins to close the quarter with a 7-6 lead. The Wildcats controlled the second quarter of play and scored three to straight to open play. MacDonald found the back of the net on the man-up opportunity followed by Chris Colliniates and Mike Haas to put VU in front 9-7 with 1:56 to go. SHU got some momentum back just before the half as Rushton buried his second off a feed from senior Brendan McAuley (Hicksville, NY) with 24 seconds left, sending the two teams into the break.

The Pioneers knotted the game out of the half at 9-9 on Tanzi's third off a feed from Greco at 12:46. A pair of Villanova goals put the Wildcats back in front 11-9 but SHU answered again as Collins and Morgan scored at 9:05 and 6:14 to tie it again, 11-11. Heidenberger closed the quarter scoring his third off a pass from Haas.

The fourth quarter belonged to the Pioneers as SHU tied it at 13:19 on a senior Rory Morse (East Falmouth, MA) man-up goal and took the lead for good at 11:41 on Rushton's third marker, 13-12. Sophomore Bobby Karl (Clifton Park, NY) made it a two-goal lead, 14-12, scoring unassisted at 8:50. Villanova's MacDonald cut it back to one at 7:37 with his third of the afternoon but the Wildcats couldn't find an answer for Rushton as he deposited his fourth at 6:14 to push the lead back to two.

After one more Villanova goal cut it back to one, SHU fended off a late Wildcat rally, overcoming a pair of turnovers late while junior Ricardo Vargas made the biggest of his 12 saves with 50 seconds left, stopping a Haas' shot to secure the win.

In addition to Rushton's four goals, Tanzi finished with a hat-trick. Greco had a goal and three helpers while Collins finished with a pair of scores and assists. Morgan scored twice for the Pioneers. SHU got four ground balls from sophomore Shawn McDonough (Carmel, NY).

The Wildcats held the edge in shots, 47-34, and in ground balls, 32-28. Colliniates won 18 of the 31 face-offs he took, picking up a game-high 11 ground balls. MacDonald had three goals and three assists while Heidenberger finished with three scores and an assist.