SHU Plays Host to Towson Tigers on Wednesday

April 8, 2008

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Sacred Heart Pioneers (6-3, 1-2 CAA) vs. Towson Tigers (3-6, 2-1 CAA)

Game #10 - Wednesday, April 9, 2008- 2:00 pm - Fairfield, Conn. - Campus Field (4,000)

SHU Plays Host to Towson Tigers... The Sacred Heart Pioneers will play their third game in seven days playing host to the Towson Tigers Wednesday afternoon in Colonial Athletic Association action. The Pioneers are looking to shake off a 20-3 loss at #20 ranked Hofstra on Saturday that dropped their league mark to 1-2. The Tigers are riding high after knocking of the #17 ranked Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens over the weekend. Senior Jonathan Engelke led the way with three goals, including the 100th of his career, and had a career-high four assists in the victory to earn CAA Player of the Week honors.

The Series... The Tigers lead the series, 6-0. Towson has won every meeting since the Pioneers joined the Colonial Athletic Association in 2002. Last year, the Tigers posted a 14-9 win at home. SHU is 0-3 at Towson and 0-3 at home in the series.

Up Next... The Pioneers will be off for 10 days before heading down to #10 ranked Drexel on Saturday, April 19th.

Last Meeting with Towson... Towson's 4-0 run to start the third quarter erased a 5-4 SHU lead at the half as the Tigers picked up a 14-9 win at home last year. The Pioneers out shot Towson 16-10 in gaining the 5-4 advantage at the break. Towson awoke in the second half to out gun Sacred Heart 34-16. The barrage was enough to out score the Pioneers 10-4 in the final 30 minutes. Senior attackman Peter Greco scored three of Sacred Heart's first five goals to help the Pioneers to their lead. But two Kyle Batton goals early in the third quarter fueled a 4-0 run that lifted the Tigers to an 8-5 lead. Senior attackman Michael Collins tallied an extra man goal with 2:03 left to stop Towson's run and close the gap to 8-6 but that was to be as close as the Pioneers would come the rest of the evening. Greco's hat trick was tops for the Pioneers. Junior goalkeeper Ricardo Vargas, nine saves, and Mike Murtha, four saves, split time in the goal for the Pioneers.

Pioneers "Think Pink" for Cancer Awareness... Sacred Heart hosts Towson on "Think Pink" day to help promote cancer awareness. The Pioneers will wear pink shooting shirts during their pregame warm-up and are asking that all fans that attend join in and wear pink for the game. "We wanted to do this in an effort to help make people aware of the challenges that so many people face, both cancer patients and their families," stated head coach Tom Mariano. "This event is an opportunity to lend our names to a very worthy cause. We all know people within our community who are dealing with cancer. It's amazing how many people we know who are involved in the fight against cancer and determined to beat it. We just wanted to take a day and help raise awareness for this fight and show our support."

Home Cooking... The Pioneers are a perfect 5-0 at home this season with Campus Field wins over Manhattan, Hartford, UMass, Robert Morris and Quinnipiac on the year for their best-start at home in the Division I era.

Connecticut Comebacks... The Pioneers are 2-3 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. Last 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.

Pride and Wildcats Shut Down SHU's Attack... The Sacred Heart offense led the CAA at 12.33 goals per game and 37.0 shots per game but have twice been held in check by league competition. Villanova kept SHU in check with six goals on just 14 shots. The Pioneers were out shot 43-14 in the loss. Saturday's game at Hofstra proved no better as the Pioneers were beat 20-3, a season-low for goals as they were shut out in the second half and for 40:41. SHU was out shot 53-18, 29-5 in the second half.

Penalties Costly vs. Hofstra... The Pioneers took a season-high 10 penalties in Saturday's loss at Hofstra and the Pride made SHU pay for their time in the box. Hofstra scored eight time man-up and were seven-of-six with the extra man in the second half. The two teams were tied 2-2 after one when Hofstra kicked it into high gear outscoring SHU 18-1 over the final 45 minutes, eight of which coming man-up.

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.

Katz, Casciano and Morgan on Attack... The trio of junior Dan Casciano and sophomores Timmy Katz and Evan Morgan are the Pioneers starters on attack and have combined for 45 goals with 24 assists on the year, 48% of SHU's offense on the year. Katz scored just three goals with an assist in 2007 but has found nothing but success this season. Katz leads the team with 20 goals and 12 assists for 32 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 six goal effort in the Hartford comeback. Casciano has 17 markers, two man-up and another man-down, with three assists. Morgan has eight goals and nine assists on the year.

Pioneers in the NCAA Rankings (through 4/6)... Timmy Katz ranks 23rd in the Nation in goals per game and 18th in points per game. Katz and Dan Casciano's six goal afternoons against Hartford and Quinnipiac is tied for the third highest number of goals scored in a game this year. Ricardo Vargas ranks 37th in goals against average and 48th in save percentage. The Pioneers own the 11th ranked scoring offense.