WASHINGTON, D.C. – Coming off a successful seven-win campaign in 2018, the Sacred Heart men's lacrosse teams opens its 2019 season the defending BIG EAST Champion and No. 18 nationally-ranked Georgetown Hoyas on Saturday at Noon. The first all-time meeting between the two sides shapes up to be a great one as the Pioneers enter looking for their first win over a ranked foe since defeating then-No. 15 Yale back on March 6, 2012.
The Pioneers were picked to finish third in the 2019 Northeast Conference Preseason Poll, as announced in late January, which stands as the highest preseason ranking SHU has ever garnered since the league's founding in 2010. Owning a mark of 3-3 in the NEC last season, the Pioneers earned a spot in the NEC Tournament in back-to-back seasons for the first time and fourth time overall. The seven-win season also tied for the third-most wins for the Pioneers since SHU joined the Division I level in 2000.
TOP FIVE PIOS TO WATCH
#25 Max Tuttle | Senior | Midfield
2018 Stats: 46 goals, 18 assists, 64 points in 15 games
Career Stats: 95 goals, 45 assists, 140 points in 46 games
Tuttle, the reigning NEC Player of the Year, set the SHU single-season goal record with 46 tallies while matching the single-season program record for points with 64. Already named to the 2019 Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-America Second Team, Tuttle became the first player in program history to earn an All-America nod (USILA Honorable Mention, Inside Lacrosse Honorable Mention) with his historic 2018 campaign. He enters his senior season fourth in program history in career goals, ninth in assists and fourth in points.
#41 Joe Saggese | Redshirt Senior | Attack
2018 Stats: 41 goals, 22 assists, 63 points in 15 games
Career Stats: 82 goals, 49 assists, 131 points in 45 games
Saggese's presence makes for a lethal top two on attack as the redshirt senior tallied 63 points (41 goals, 22 assists) to sit second in the NEC and 17th in the nation in points per game (4.20). An All-NEC First Team selection in 2018, Saggese turned in the third-highest single-season point total in program history and the second-highest in the program's Division I history (behind only Tuttle's 64-point 2018 season).
#1 Logan Liljeberg | Sophomore | Midfield
2018 Stats: 14 goals, 17 assists, 31 points in 15 games
Career Stats: Same as 2018
Adding even more depth to the attacking unit is Liljeberg, a 2018 NEC All-Rookie selection who set a SHU freshman single-season record with 17 assists while adding 14 goals for 31 points in 15 games. Liljeberg became the highest-scoring freshman at SHU since Mike Hawdsley '14 tallied 38 points in his rookie campaign back in 2011.
#44 Joseph Cipoletti | Senior | Defense
2018 Stats: 40 ground balls, 24 caused turnovers, one goal, five assists, six points in 15 games
Career Stats: 49 ground balls, 31 caused turnovers in 37 games
Cipoletti had a breakout 2018 campaign and is the top returning defender on the 2019 roster. Totaling 24 caused turnovers to lead the team, Cipoletti sat 21st in the nation in caused turnovers per game (1.53). He even contributed six points (one goal, five assists) on the offensive end, a team-high for defenders in 2018.
#31 Brooks Dutton | Junior | Goalkeeper
2018 Stats: 7-7 record, 11.40 GAA, 151 saves, 48.9 save percentage in 14 games
Career Stats: 15-11 record, 10.67 GAA, 269 saves, 49.3 save percentage in 28 games
In net, Dutton hopes to continue a career that already stands as one of the best for a goalkeeper in program history. Through two seasons as the team's starter, Dutton has racked up 15 wins (second in program history), 269 saves (sixth) and owns a 10.67 career goals-against average (tied for first).