Pioneers Return to Conference Play at Hofstra
April 4, 2008
Sacred Heart Pioneers (6-2, 1-1 CAA) vs. Hofstra Pride (3-4, 1-1 CAA)
Game #9 - Saturday, April 5, 2008- 1:00 pm - Hempstead, N.Y. - James H. Shuart Stadium (13,000)
Pioneers Return to Conference Play at Hofstra... The Sacred Heart Pioneers enter a four-game stretch against Colonial Athletic Association competition starting Saturday afternoon at #19 ranked Hofstra. The Pioneers are riding high after a big second half charge fueled a comeback win over instate rival Quinnipiac on Wednesday, 14-10. It was SHU's second comeback win this season when trailing by five goals at the break. Sacred Heart and Hofstra sit tied at 1-1 in the league standings with both entering the stretch run looking for playoff spot. The Pioneers will take on the league's heavyweights down the stretch facing the Pride, Towson, Drexel and Delaware, all four ranked or receiving votes in the national weekly polls.
The Series... Hofstra leads the all-time series, 6-0. The Pride traveled to Sacred Heart last season and extended their winning streak to five-straight over the Pioneers with a 10-8 win. The Pioneers and Pride met for the first time during the 2002 season, SHU's first in the CAA. The Pioneers are 0-3 both on the road and at home in the series.
Up Next... Sacred Heart will return to Campus Field to play host to Towson on Wednesday afternoon before taking 10 days off.
Last Meeting with Hofstra... The Sacred Heart Pioneers got two goals apiece from Peter Greco and Tony Tanzi but came up short as the Hofstra Pride scored five first quarter goals and converted four-of-seven man-up opportunities to come away with a 10-8 win in Fairfield last season. Hofstra used a big first quarter, scoring five times on 12 shots while winning six of the nine face-offs. The Pioneers scored first as sophomore Bobby Rushton buried one at 8:58, unassisted. The Pride answered with four-straight in the span of three and a half minutes. The two teams traded goals throughout the second quarter as the Pride led 7-4 at the break. Hofstra closed out the third quarter with their third man-up goal of the afternoon with just 26 seconds left. The Pioneers opened the fourth man-up and wasted little time in getting on board, scoring 10 seconds in on a great individual effort by senior Rory Morse to pull SHU to within 9-8. The Pride buried their fourth man-up goal at 10:37 and let their defense take over. Hofstra limited SHU to just four shots in the fourth, forcing the Pioneers into five turnovers and two failed clear attempts.
Strong Starts and Home Cooking... The Pioneers are off to their best start at the Division I level at 6-2 and are a perfect 5-0 at home this season. SHU owns Campus Field wins over Manhattan, Hartford, UMass, Robert Morris and Quinnipiac on the year. Sacred Heart's previous best starts were in 2005 when they went 4-1 to open with a win over nationally ranked Dartmouth on the road, a program first, and in 2003 when they opened 4-2.
Connecticut Comebacks... The Pioneers are 2-2 this season when trailing at the half but both wins have come with SHU chasing five goals to start the second half against a pair of fellow Nutmeg State schools. Sacred Heart found themselves in a 8-3 hole earlier in the season against Hartford and battled their way back to an 11-10 win thanks to sophomore Timmy Katz, who scored five of his career-high six goals in the second half. This past Wednesday, the Pioneers found themselves in the exact same position against Quinnipiac. SHU, down 8-3 at the break, rattled off eight-straight to start the second half en route to a 14-10 win. Junior Dan Casciano lead this SHU comeback, matching Katz's six goal effort with five coming the second half in the comeback.
`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 out shot 43-14 in the loss.
Streak vs. UMass Snapped... The Pioneers have faced regional power Massachusetts every season since 2003 but had lost five-straight heading into this year' meeting. Sacred Heart put an end to that streak with a convincing 9-7 win over the Minutemen. 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.
A Balanced Pioneer Attack... 18 Different Pioneers have scored goals on the season as the SHU offense takes on Hofstra averaging a league best 11.75 goals per game. Three Pioneers are in double digits for goals scored in Timmy Katz (20), Dan Casciano (17) and Bobby Rushton (10) while a total of 12 different Pioneers have scored two or more goals on the year.
Take Your Shot and Make it Count... Despite being out shot 328 to 276 on the season, the Pioneers have done an excellent job of getting their shots on goal and making them count. Of their 276 total shots, 187 have been on goal, a .678 on-goal shooting percentage. Timmy Katz is among the team leaders, scoring 20 goals on 31 shots on the cage this season. In fact, Katz has managed to just miss putting the ball on goal just five times through eight games.
Break-Out Season for Katz... 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 20 goals and 11 assists for 31 points. He has five man-up goals and a pair of game-winners as well. He earned both the CAA and the Turfer Athletic NEILA Player of the Week awards for his efforts in the Hartford comeback.
Pioneers in the NCAA Rankings (through 3/30)... 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.
McGlensey Recognized by Inside Lacrosse... 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 SHU's current leading active scorer with 40 career goals and 17 career assists.
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 112-126 (.471) 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 MAAC.