April 1, 2008
Sacred Heart Pioneers (5-2, 1-1 CAA) vs. Quinnipiac Bobcats (6-1, 0-1 GWLL)
Game #8 - Wednesday, April 2, 2008- 3:00 pm - Fairfield, Conn. - Campus Field (4,000)
Sacred Heart Hosts Instate Rival Quinnipiac... Sacred Heart will get ready for the Colonial Athletic Association stretch run hosting instate rival Quinnipiac Wednesday afternoon. The Pioneers are looking to rebound from Saturday's 7-6 loss at Villanova as they put their 4-0 home mark on the line against the Bobcats. SHU's last four games will be against CAA competition taking on nationally ranked Hofstra, Towson, Drexel and Delaware. The Bobcats suffered their first loss after a 6-0 start, losing to Ohio State, 18-7, in their Great Western Lacrosse League opener.
The Series... The Pioneers lead the all-time series, 8-4. The two teams met for the first time since 2001 last season with the Bobcats posting a 10-9 overtime win at home. SHU lost 13-10 to QU in 2001 and beat the Bobcats, 15-10 in 2000 when both teams were members of the MAAC. The first meeting took place in 1991, SHU's first season of competition, with Quinnipiac winning 15-3.
Up Next... Sacred Heart has four-straight CAA games left on the schedule, two on the road and two at home. The Pioneers head to #19/#20 Hofstra on Saturday afternoon before returning home to face Towson in one week.
Last Meeting with Quinnipiac... Mike Stottler's fifth goal of the afternoon came just as the overtime horn sounded to lift the Quinnipiac Bobcats to a 10-9 win over the Sacred Heart Pioneers last April. The Pioneers got three goals and an assist from sophomore Bobby Karl who helped guide SHU back from a 6-3 second half hole to lead 9-8 late before Stottler's heroics. Sacred Heart controlled play early taking a 3-1 advantage midway through the first quarter. The Pioneer offense went stone cold from there for the rest of the half as the Bobcats rattled off four-straight to lead 5-3 at the break. The Pioneers tied the game at 8-8 and surged ahead 9-8 with 3:46 to play when senior Peter Greco fed Karl in front for his third of the afternoon. The Bobcats pulled the game even once again less then a minute later and both teams had chances in the closing minutes of regulation and overtime but couldn't bury anything and were plagued by turnovers. With the game looking headed for a second overtime, Quinnpiac's Stottler picked-up a loose ball and let fire just as the horn sounded with the ball skipping past SHU keeper Ricardo Vargas for the win.
`Nova Shuts Down SHU's Attack... Sacred Heart carried a CAA leading 12.33 goals per game and 37.0 shots per game in to last Saturday's match-up with Villanova but the Pioneers were held in check, scoring a season-low six goals on just 14 shots. SHU also managed a season-low 17 ground balls in the loss. The Pioneers were outshot 43-14 in the loss.
Branford Brotherly Love... Both the Pioneers and the Bobcats feature a pair of brothers on their rosters in SHU's Anthony and Michael Mortali and QU's AJ and Billy Alessi. The junior-freshman brother combination may be on opposite sides come Wednesday but all four once took the field together at Branford High School. All four are best friends and the Mortali's and Alessi families are very close with both fathers coaching their sets of sons back in their high school playing days. Both Anthony and Michael are also members of the SHU Football team.
A Balanced Pioneer Attack... 17 Different Pioneers have scored goals on the season as the SHU offense heads into Wednesday's match-up averaging 11.43 goals per game. Three Pioneers are in double digits for goals scored in Timmy Katz (19), Dan Casciano (11) and Bobby Rushton (10) while a total of 11 different Pioneers have scored two or more goals on the year.
Take Your Shot and Make it Count... Despite being out shot 293 to 236 on the season, the Pioneers have done an excellent job of getting their shots on goal and making them count. Of their 236 total shots, 160 have been on goal, a .678 shooting percentage. Timmy Katz is among the team leaders, scoring 19 goals on 24 shots on the cage this season. In fact, Katz has managed to just miss putting the ball on goal just four time through seven games.
Katz Leading the Offense... Sophomore Timmy Katz scored just three goals with an assist in 2007 but has found nothing but success this season. Katz has at least a goal in every game this season and leads the team with 19 goals and eight assists for 27 points. He had a break-out performance in spurring a six-goal comeback against Hartford, scoring a career-high six goals 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.
Pioneers in the NCAA Rankings... Timmy Katz ranks 9th in the Nation in goals per game and 10th in points per game. Katz's six goal afternoon against Hartford is tied for the third highest number of goals scored in a game this year. Ricardo Vargas ranks 18th in goals against average and 37th in save percentage. The Pioneers own the 9th ranked scoring offense and are 22nd in scoring defense, 18th a man-down.
Streak vs. UMass Snapped... The Pioneers have faced regional power Massachusetts every season since 2003 but had lost five-straight heading into last 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.
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 111-126 (.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.