The Sacred Heart University men's lacrosse game vs. Marist College on Saturday, February 27, has been changed from 1:00 pm in the afternoon to 6:00 pm Saturday evening.
Setting the Scene... The Pioneers play host to former Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opponent Marist College at 1:00 pm. This is the first meeting between the two schools since 2004 and the first in Fairfield since 2003.
Last Time Out... SHU earned its first win of the season with a 13-6 defeat of Presbyterian College last Sunday. Senior attacks Jon Flood and Timmy Katz led the way with four goals apiece. Classmate Evan Morgan collected four assists and added a score of his own. Netminder Tom Trgo stopped 16 shots to claim the victory.
Vs. Marist All-Time... The Pioneers enter today’s contest owning a 7-2 advantage in the all-time series with the Red Foxes. Shu has won each of the last four matchups dating back to 2001. Marist won the first tilt between the two schools, 19-12, in Fairfield back in 1995. Since then the only other setback for SHU was an 11-10 loss at home in 2000.
About the Pioneers... Through two games Katz has led the SHU offense with seven scores and a pair of assists. Along side him on the attack, Flood has scored five goals and collected three assists, while Morgan has three goals and four helpers. Freshman Stephen Kontos has emerged as the team’s go-to faceoff specialist having won 22 of a possible 42. Trgo has logged the majority of the minutes in the cage and has stopped 22 shots.
Up Next... The Pioneers conclude their home stand with a 1:00 pm contest with Manhattan College on Saturday March 6 at Campus Field.
Scouting the Red Foxes... This is the regular season opener for Marist, who have spent the last two weeks scrimmaging Hartford, Providence, and Dowling College. The Red Foxes were selected to finish fifth in the MAAC coaches preseason poll. Marist does return its three top scorers from last season. Junior attack Corey Zindel led the team with 37 points, 13 goals and 24 assists. Senior attack Ryan Sharkey was the top goal scorer from a year ago with 24 scored and four assists. Sophomore Evan Guarini also contributed 21 goals and three assists.
Last Time They Met... Sacred Heart held on for an 8-7 win, despite holding a 7-1 lead late in the third quarter. Marist put together a late surge to close the deficit to one with two goals in the final 2:14. Jorge Bravo and Peter Greco each notched a hat trick for the Pioneers. Brian Diele scored twice for the Red Foxes.
In the Polls... Sacred Heart received votes in the first weekly United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Division I Poll. The Pioneers also hold the number six spot in this week’s NEILA Coaches’ Poll. Last week they shared the seventh slot with Holy Cross.
Weekly Honors... Senior attack Timmy Katz was named the Turfer NEILA Player of the week for the week ending February 21.
2009 in Review... Sacred Heart completed a 4-10 season in its final year in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Pioneers’ lone conference victory was an 8-7 five overtime defeat of Villanova at Campus Field on March 28. SHU took down in-state rivals Hartford, 9-8, and Quinnipiac, 12-9, on the road. Katz led the team in scoring with 28 points, including a team-high 21 goals. Dan Casciano ranked second on the team with 19 goals and seven assists for 26 total points. Zach Smith took the majority of the faceoffs for the Pioneers and picked up a team-leading 75 ground balls. Frank started 12 games in goal and posted 162 saves and a 4-9 record.
Captains... Mariano announced that seniors Nick Brink, Evan Morgan, and Peter Ridge as team captains for the 2010 season. Morgan is the second highest scoring attack from a year ago, having scored 11 goals and collected 13 assists. Both midfielders, Brink and Ridge will contribute to what could be a midfield by committe until the right combinations begin to blossom during the season.
In The Cage... Senior goalie Tom Trgo and junior Zack Frank, last season’s starter, will look to battle for time in net for the Pioneers. A year ago, Frank started 12 games between the pipes for SHU, while Trgo opened the game in net twice. Frank posted 162 saves for a .581 save percentage and Trgo provided 41 stops for a .562 save percentage.
Preseason NEILA Poll... Sacred Heart enters the season in the three way tie for the sixth spot in the NEILA Coaches’ Poll. The Pioneers are tied with Dartmouth and Quinnipiac. UMass begins the 2010 season as the top-ranked team in the. The remaining teams among the top eight are Brown, Harvard, Fairfield and Yale.
Pioneer History... This is the 20th season of men’s lacrosse at Sacred Heart. The Pioneers post a mark of 121-140 in their history. Head Coach Tom Mariano is the program’s longest tenured coach in his 13th season at the helm. SHU has left the Colonial Athletic Association and will compete as a Division I Independent in 2010. Starting next season the Pioneers will join the Northeast Conference as is adds men’s lacrosse for 2011. Prior to this season, the Pioneers spent eight seasons in the CAA and two seasons competing in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Five On Top... On March 28th, Sacred Heart beat Villanova, 8-7, in five overtimes in the longest game in CAA history. Sophomore goaltender Zack Frank made a school record 27 saves in the game. Sophomore Jon Flood scored the game winning goal with six seconds left in the fifth overtime.
Record Setter/Award Winner... As a sophomore, last season, Zack Frank earned Player of the Week honors from three different organizations for the week of March 23-29. Frank was named the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week. He also was tabbed the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Division I Player of the Week and the Turfer/New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Player of the Week. Frank made a school record 27 saves in Sacred Heart’s five overtime victory over Villanova on March 28. Fifteen of those stops came in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Pioneers protected a one goal lead and then held off a Villanova onslaught in the extra sessions. Frank made nine stops in the fourth quarter and made six saves in the five overtime sessions. He also picked up nine groundballs in the game.