Sacred Heart and Robert Morris Meet in CAA Opener
March 20, 2008
Sacred Heart Pioneers (4-1, 0-0 CAA) vs. Robert Morris Colonials (4-4, 0-0 CAA)
Game #6 - Saturday, March 20, 2008- 12:00 pm - Fairfield, Conn. - Campus Field (4,000)
Sacred Heart and Robert Morris Meet in CAA Opener... The Pioneer men's lacrosse team opens Colonial Athletic Association play on Saturday as they welcome the Robert Morris Colonials to Campus Field. The Pioneers are hoping to ride the momentum of Tuesday's big win over UMass into conference play as they sit at 4-1, matching their best start in Division I (2005). The Colonials are 4-4, relying heavily on freshman Corbyn Tao-Brambleby, the top-rookie scorer in the CAA (12g, 3a). The Colonials have been off for a week after their 12-5 loss to #20 Ohio State last weekend.
The Series... The Pioneers lead the all-time series, 3-0. Sacred Heart made their first-ever trip to Moon Township, Pa. last March and earned a 10-7 win over the Colonials. SHU posted a 15-9 win over Robert Morris at home in the first meeting between the two schools as members of the CAA. The Pioneers beat the Colonials 18-8 in Delray Beach, Florida during the 2005 season, Robert Morris's inaugural season of competition.
Up Next... Sacred Heart travel down to Philadelphia next Saturday to take on CAA foe Villanova at 1:00 pm.
Last Meeting with RMU... The Pioneers went on the road and dealt Robert Morris a 10-7 defeat in their CAA opener last March. Sacred Heart trailed RMU 6-5 early in the third quarter, but reeled off five unanswered goals while keeping the Colonials off the board for 27 minutes. Junior captain Tony Tanzi scored a team-high three goals and added an assist in the RMU win. Tanzi got the run started at 11:51 and set up sophomore Bobby Karl for a marker at 3:57 that gave SHU the lead for good. Freshman Dan Mesler made it 8-6 just over a minute later and the Pioneers got a man-up opportunity off the ensuing face-off and wasted little time in capitalizing as freshman Timmy Katz buried an unassisted goal at 1:20 to close out the quarter. Sacred Heart's Nicholas Russo capped off the run with his third goal of the season at 2:48. The Colonials, who out shot SHU 10-5 in the fourth, scored at 1:29 to produce the final score, 10-7. RMU's Sal Barcia played the entire second half and made seven saves in taking the loss. SHU junior goalkeeper Ricardo Vargas made 12 saves while Zach Smith won 14 of the 17 face-offs he took picking up a team-high seven ground balls.
Streak vs. UMass Snapped... The Pioneers have faced regional power Massachusetts every season since 2003 but had lost five-straight heading into this past Tuesday's match-up. Sacred Heart put an end to that streak with a convincing 9-7 win over the Minutemen to improve to 4-1 on the season. SHU got two goals and two assists from Timmy Katz and a stellar 13 save performance in goal by Ricardo Vargas to lead the way.
Katz Leading the Offense... Sophomore Timmy Katz scored just three goals with an assist in 2007 but has found nothing but success in the early going this season. Katz leads the team with 15 goals and six assists for 21 points. Katz had a break-out performance in spurring a six-goal comeback against Hartford. He scored a career-high six goal against the Hawks, falling one goal shy of the school record for a game. For his efforts, Katz was named both the CAA and the Turfer Athletic NEILA Player of the Week.
Vargas Back in Goal... After a two-game stint coming off the bench, senior Ricardo Vargas stepped back into the starting lineup against the Minutemen and delivered. Vargas turned away 13 UMass shots, making four big saves in the fourth quarter to preserve the 9-7 victory. Vargas is sporting 6.42 goals against average with a .543 save percentage on the year.
CAA Statistical Leaders... The SHU Pioneers rank second in the CAA in goals per game at 11.80, points per game at 17.20 and goals against average at 7.60. SHU leads the league in shot percentage, converting 59 goals on 183 shots (.322). The Pioneers lead in shots on goal per game (24.20). Sophomore Timmy Katz is second among the league leaders in goals per game (3.00) and points per game (4.20). He leads the league with four man-up goals on the year. Junior Zach Smith is third in the CAA in ground balls per game (4.80) and face-off percentage (.593).
Pioneers in the NCAA Rankings... Timmy Katz ranks 5th in the Nation in goals per game and 8th in points per game. Katz's six goal afternoon against Hartford is tied for the second highest number of goals scored in a game this year. Zach Smith is tied for 6th in the country in ground balls per game and 7th in face-off percentage. The Pioneers own the 6th ranked scoring offense and are tied for the 18th stingiest scoring defense.
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 a two-time captain for the Pioneers.
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 with 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.
Pioneer History... This is the 18th season of men's lacrosse at Sacred Heart. The Pioneers post a mark of 110-125 (.468) 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.