Pioneers Set to Open 2008 Saturday Afternoon

Feb. 22, 2008

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Sacred Heart Pioneers (0-0, 0-0 CAA) vs. Presbyterian Blue Hose (0-2, Independent)

Game #1 - Saturday, February 23, 2008- 12:00 pm - Fairfield, Conn. - Campus Field (4,000)

Officials: Phil DiDomenico (R), Bob Arabian (FJ), Steven Murray (U)

Pioneers Play Host to Presbyterian to Open 2008... The 2008 version of the Sacred Heart men's lacrosse team will open play Saturday afternoon hosting Presbyterian College from Clinton, South Carolina. The Pioneers return 28 letterwinners including eight starters to the field this season from last year's club that finished 4-8. Leading the talented pack will be the return of senior defenseman Brett McGlensey, who earned a spot on the All-CAA second team last season, and sophomore attacker Even Morgan, who earned All-CAA Rookie team honors.

The Series... Saturday marks the first-ever meeting between Sacred Heart and Presbyterian

Up Next... The Pioneers are on the road one week from now as they travel to Wagner College for a 1:00 pm start. SHU is 4-0 all-time versus Wagner.

McGlensey Recognized by Inside Lacrosse Magazine... Senior defenseman Brett McGlensey was named to the Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Yearbook Preseason All-Colonial Athletic Association team in a vote by the league's head coaches. He also garnered Preseason All-American Honorable Mention honors, announced in December.

Tanzi Earns Preseason All-New England Honors... Two-time team captain Tony Tanzi was named to the All-New England Preseason team by the region's 12 head coaches. The senior midfielder is the Pioneers leading returning scorer with 46 career points on 31 goals and 15 assists.

Offensive Attack... 14-Year Head Coach Tom Mariano welcomes back four double-digit scorers to this year's offensive attack, led by sophomore Evan Morgan. A 2008 All-CAA Rookie team pick, Morgan was second on the team in 2007 with 13 goals, 11 assists and 24 points. Junior Bobby Karl led the Pioneers in assists with 14 helpers to go with his nine markers. Captains, senior Tony Tanzi and junior Bobby Rushton also found double digit points in 2007. Tanzi finished with 14 goals and three assists while Rushton led the Pioneers in goals scored with 17 and added three assists to finish with 20 points.

Healy Back to Anchor Defensive Unit... Grad student Pat Healy returns to the defensive lineup after being forced to miss all but two games last season due to a broken foot. Healy along with senior Brett McGlensey will lead the Pioneer defensive unit in front of senior goalkeeper Ricardo Vargas. Healy played in all 14 games in 2006, finishing second on the defense with 30 ground balls. Last season, he started the first two games and collected four grounders before being forced to the sidelines with the season-ending injury. McGlensey stepped up and earned himself a spot on the All-CAA second team with his play. The senior started 12 games and collected 33 grounders on the year. Also returning to the SHU back is seniors Kevin Morgan and John Benyei, junior Phil Bardsley along with sophomore Brendan Foley, all bringing in game experience to the mix. Vargas saw the majority of time in goal posting a 10.95 goals against average with 134 saves in his first season as a full-time starter.

Face-offs... Junior midfielder Zach Smith returns to the face-off circle after leading SHU last season winning 59.7% of his face-offs taken. Smith won 129 of 216 face-offs and led the Pioneers with 64 ground balls in 2007. Senior Chris Wolpert also brings experience to the "x" with 20 wins in 45 attempts (.444) last season.

Last Meeting with Presbyterian... Saturday will be the first game between the Blue Hose and Pioneers.

Scouting the Blue Hose... The Presbyterian Blue Hose make their second trip up north in a week after a 19-3 loss at Siena last Saturday. The Blue Hose are 0-2 on the year after the loss to the Saints as well as a 15-13 loss to Mars Hill in their season-opener. Through the first two games, sophomore Brian Foley leads the team with five goals and an assist on attack while fellow sophomore attackman Jeremy Metcalfe has three goals and two assists. Presbyterian is currently making the transition to a full-time Division I program and will play this season as an independent.

2008 Team Captains... The 2008 Pioneers will be captained by graduate student Pat Healy, seniors Ricardo Vargas and Tony Tanzi and junior Bobby Rushton. Healy and Tanzi will both serve as team captains for the second-straight season.

Strength of CAA Lacrosse... The 2008 season is just underway with the Colonial Athletic Association again ranking among the nation's elite lacrosse conferences. The league currently has four teams ranked in the Nike / Inside Lacrosse Top-20 Media Poll. The Delaware Blue Hens are ranked 13th, the Towson Tigers are 14th, the Hofstra Pride is 15th and the Drexel Dragons round out the CAA's representation at #18. The USILA Preseason Poll features Towson ranked 13th, Delaware 14th and Hofstra 17th.

Preseason CAA Poll... The Drexel Dragons just edged out Towson University for the top-spot in this season's preseason poll. Both teams received three first place votes wtih the Dragon earning the top-sport with 33 points to Towson's 32. The remaining first-place vote went to defending champion Delaware, who advanced to their first-ever NCAA Final Four last season. Hofstra was picked fourth, Villanova fifth, Sacred Heart sixth and Robert Morris seventh.

2008 Schedule... The Pioneers have put together a competitive 13 game schedule in 2008 featuring four games against teams ranked in this week's Nike/Inside Lacrosse top-20 media poll. In non-league action, SHU will take on Presbyterian, Wagner, Manhattan, Hartford, Binghamton, UMass and Quinnipiac. The home schedule features eight games starting Feb. 23rd against Presbyterian. The 2008 CAA Tournament will take place on April 30th and May 3rd with the top four teams advancing.

Pioneer History... This is the 18th season of men's lacrosse at Sacred Heart. The Pioneers post a mark of 106-124 (.461) in their history. Head Coach Tom Mariano is the program's longest tenured coach in his 12th season at the helm. SHU begins it's seventh season of competition in the Colonial Athletic Association, one of the premier lacrosse leagues in the nation. Prior to joining the league, the Pioneers spent two seasons competing in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.