Men’s Lacrosse Takes Down Defending NEC Champion Robert Morris, 18-16

Men’s Lacrosse Takes Down Defending NEC Champion Robert Morris, 18-16

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – A resounding start to the conference slate for Sacred Heart men's lacrosse saw the Pioneers take down the defending NEC Champion Robert Morris, 18-16, from Campus Field on Saturday afternoon. SHU ups their win streak to four straight and move to 5-3 (1-0 NEC) on the season while the Colonials drop to 1-6 (0-1 NEC) in 2019.

In a game that SHU led 13-12 with 6:21 remaining, the Pioneers rattled off four crucial unanswered goals as it went from a one-goal game back up to a 17-12 SHU advantage. On a day where the high-powered SHU duo of Joe Saggese (three goals, three assists) and Max Tuttle (four goals) went off for 10 points combined, it was the Pioneer depth that won it late as four different goal scorers contributed in the game-deciding 4-0 run late in the fourth.

Four different Pioneers recorded hat tricks on the day including Saggese and Tuttle. With his fourth goal, Tuttle made history, passing Chris Lukowski '99 for first place all-time at SHU in career points. Needing four points to break Lukowski's record of 173, Tuttle did just that as he now has 174 career points (120 goals, 54 assists) in 54 career games. Saggese, meanwhile, moved into a tie with Lukowski for second place all-time at SHU in career points as Saggese has 173 (106 goals, 67 assists) in 53 games.

The significance of the win cannot be understated as the Pioneers snaps a three-game losing streak against the Colonials while scoring their most goals in an NEC game since a 21-8 win at Wagner back on April 6, 2013. This also marks the first time SHU has won a conference opener since the 2015 campaign while it also breaks a two-game home losing streak in the 2019 season. 

SCORE
Sacred Heart 18 / Robert Morris 16

RECORDS
Sacred Heart (5-3, 1-0 NEC) / Robert Morris (1-6, 0-1 NEC)

LOCATION
Campus Field / Fairfield, CT

First Quarter (4-3 RMU)

  • SHU jumped out to an early 2-0 lead just 2:48 into play as Logan Liljeberg dished out assists on goals from Tuttle and Alex Weiss
  • RMU was quick to respond, scoring four of the next five and later six of the next eight goals to build a lead of their own heading into the second quarter
  • Corson Kealey scored the first three goals of the day for the Colonials while Brandon Sulhoff scored with five seconds left in the quarter to swing the lead in favor of RMU for the first time on the day
  • Sandwiched in the RMU run was a highlight-reel effort from Connor O'Reilly as he scored his first of four on the day, going nearly the length of the field for the tally
  • SHU lost the turnover battle in the opening period, 5-2, but still managed to outshoot the Colonials 13-10

Second Quarter (6-6 SHU)

  • After Drew Edwards scored his first of two on the day, RMU continued to apply the pressure as the Colonials scored twice in 14 seconds to bulid their largest lead of the game at 6-4 with 11:13 remaining in the quarter
  • Brooks Dutton and the Pioneer defense held their own for the remainder of the quarter and into the second half as the junior goalkeeper saved all four RMU shots-on-goal for the rest of the frame
  • Dutton's great run of play continued into the second half as he notched three more saves to prolong a RMU scoreless streak that lasted 22:28 straight minutes from the second quarter into the third
  • While the SHU defense held the Colonial attack at-bay, Tuttle fired home his second of the day before Saggese found his first with 3:24 remaining in the half to tie the score at 6-6 heading into halftime
  • Shots again favored SHU in the frame, 17-12, overcoming a 4-2 advantage for RMU in faceoff wins

Third Quarter (11-8 SHU)

  • Coming out of the halftime locker room, with the SHU defense continuing to excel, the Pioneers came out an went on a crucial 4-0 run to grab a 10-6 lead with 4:51 left in the quarter
  • Weiss ripped home his second of the day, taking advantage of the RMU zone defense to get the scoring run started in the second half
  • Tuttle then buried his first of two unassisted tallies in the 4-0 SHU run while O'Reilly rifled home a shot from the wing off a feed from Liljeberg
  • Facing a four-goal deficit, RMU broke out of their extended goalless streak with consecutive goals to cut the SHU lead back to two before Saggese spotted Edwards open at the near post with a seeing-eye pass to make it 11-8 SHU heading into the fourth
  • The biggest single-quarter shot advantage for SHU came in the third as the Pioneers outshot the Colonials 23-9 in the quarter while Dutton registered six of his 18 saves in the third period alone

Fourth Quarter (18-16 SHU)

  • Saggese came out with a diving goal to open the fourth and build the SHU lead back up to four but RMU again answered back with four of the next five goals to cut the Pioneer lead down to one with 6:21 remaining
  • In desperate need of an answer, SHU got one in the form of a game-deciding 4-0 run over a span of 3:50 that gave SHU their biggest lead of the game at 17-12
  • Liljeberg ignited the run as he took a Reed Avveduti pass and quickly fired off a shot low on Alex Heger as the helpless RMU keeper had no time to react to the Liljeberg strike
  • Seconds after the first and only extra-man opportunity on the day had expired for SHU, man-up specialist Jaden Walcot still managed to put one past Heger at the far post just 40 seconds after the Liljeberg goal
  • Edwards then drew in two defenders, fed Weiss at the top and he fired one from 15 yards out that found the back of the net to make it 16-12 with 3:10 remaining
  • O'Reilly finished off the crucial 4-0 run with an empty-net goal that pushed the Pioneer lead to five
  • A key contributor in the scoring spree, Pioneer faceoff specialist Jake Giaquinto won three consecutive faceoffs during the run, setting the stage for the SHU offense who scored on all three ensuing possessions
  • RMU made a late run with three goals in a span of 26 seconds but it was too little too late for the visiting Colonials

NOTES

  • The Pioneers matched their season-high with 18 goals and 11 assists as a team while the 66 shots and 33 shots-on-goal easily established new season-highs for SHU
  • SHU committed just 12 turnovers for the game, including just seven in the final three quarters against the Colonials' zone defense
  • Returning to his usual role at the faceoff 'X' for SHU, Giaquinto was stellar going 17-for-33 on the day to go over 50 percent on his faceoff attempts for the third time in five appearances this season
  • Giaquinto's 17 faceoff wins set a new career-high, besting the previous-high of 15 which he had accomplished twice in his career prior to today
  • Dutton's fifth win of the season ups his career total to 20 victories, standing just one shy of matching Art DeGaetano's all-time wins record for SHU goalkeepers at 21
  • The Pioneers saw seven players register at least three points on the day
  • The NEC's leader in points continued to produce at an elite level as Saggese racked up six points, finishing with three goals and three assists to go along with two ground balls
  • It was Saggese's fifth time in eight games this season registering at least six points in a single-game
  • Saggese now has back-to-back six-point games after going for five goals and one assist in last Saturday's win at Hartford
  • The redshirt senior attack Saggese has 42 points on the season with 24 goals and 18 assists and is currently on-pace to shatter Tuttle's all-time single-season points record of 64 set last season
  • Tuttle tacked on four goals to go along with seven ground balls as he leads the team in goals (25) and ground balls (36) this season
  • After setting the all-time SHU points record today, Tuttle is just 10 goals away from passing Stephen Grabow '03 (129 goals) for the program record in career goals
  • Liljeberg had himself a four-point game, finishing with one goal and a season-high 10 shots while matching a season-high with three assists
  • O'Reilly continues his breakout senior campaign, coming into this season with two career goals, he went for a career-high four today as he currently sits third on the team in goals (11) and fourth in points (14)
  • More known for his goal-scoring acumen, Avveduti dished out a career-high three assists today to give him a season-high three points
  • Weiss was involved in the offense throughout, netting his second career hat trick with three goals on 10 shots as he now has five goals over the last two games
  • Since returning to the SHU lineup after missing the first four games of the season due to injury, Edwards has been a huge lift to the Pioneer offense as he tallied a career-high four points (two goals, two assists to go along with four ground balls
  • Ever since returning to the SHU lineup at Providence on March 2, the Pioneers are 4-0 and Edwards has a four-game point streak and 10 points (five goals, five assists)
  • Headlining the SHU defensive unit was senior Landon Kramer who tallied three caused turnovers and three ground balls on the day

NEXT GAME
The Pioneers remain at home on Saturday, March 23 as SHU welcomes Hobart for a 12:00 PM start. That NEC matchup features the top two scoring offenses in the conference as both rank Top 10 in the nation.