Men’s Lacrosse Uses Dominant Third Quarter to Defeat Bryant for the First Time in Program History

Men’s Lacrosse Uses Dominant Third Quarter to Defeat Bryant for the First Time in Program History

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Trailing by two at the half, the Sacred Heart men's lacrosse team used a dominating 6-1 third quarter advantage to post a crucial 11-8 road win over Bryant on Saturday afternoon from Beirne Stadium. The win snaps a two-game conference losing skid and marks the first time in program history that the Pioneers have defeated perennial league power Bryant. Prior to today, SHU had gone 0-12 all-time against the Bulldogs including a mark of 0-6 in games played in Smithfield.

In a game that saw the nation's 11th-ranked scoring offense shutout in the second quarter and with just two goals scored at the half, the Pioneers came out firing in the second half with a 6-1 showing in the third to build an 8-5 lead heading into the fourth quarter. That positive momentum continued in the fourth as SHU added two more in a span of 1:41, prolonging a streak that saw the Pioneers outscore the Bulldogs 9-2 for a total of 27:09 in the second half.

Eight different Pioneers scored a goal while five players notched at least two points in the win. Joe Saggese (two goals, two assists), Max Tuttle (one goal, two assists) and Alex Weiss (two goals, one assist) led the offensive effort. Goalkeeper Brooks Dutton starred in the victory as the junior notched 11 saves while allowing a season-low eight goals, leading SHU to the win.

With more than half the Pioneers' league slate now in the books, today's win was crucial for playoff positioning as SHU now sits in the fourth and final playoff spot for the 2019 NEC Tournament. Owning victories over RMU (2-2 NEC) and now Bryant (1-3 NEC), the Pioneers are now in control of their playoff fate as two wins in their remaining two NEC games will clinch a playoff berth for the third straight season.

Sacred Heart 11 / Bryant 8

Sacred Heart (6-5, 2-2 NEC) / Bryant (3-8, 1-3 NEC)

David M. '85 and Terry Beirne Stadium / Smithfield, RI

First Quarter (3-2 BRY)

  • A very evenly-played first quarter saw the Bulldogs claim an early 3-2 lead as three different Bulldogs scored to start the action
  • Connor O'Reilly picked up the first goal of the day for SHU with an unassisted marker with 9:29 remaining to make it 2-1 Bryant
  • Weiss then netted his first of two on the day with an unassisted tally as the Pioneers trailed 3-2 after the first
  • Shots favored SHU 12-8 in the first quarter while faceoff wins (3-3), ground balls (6-5 BRY), saves (3-2 BRY) and turnovers (3-2 BRY) were all nearly level through the opening 15 minutes

Second Quarter (4-2 BRY)

  • Both goalkeepers told the story in the second as just one goal was scored and it came off the stick of Bryant's Nick Beeson as the Bulldogs led 4-2 at the half
  • Turnovers plagued the Pioneers for the large part of the frame as SHU committed six of their 14 turnovers in the second quarter alone
  • Bryant goalkeeper Nick Caracciolo made saves on all four of the SHU shots-on-goal in the quarter while Dutton kept his team close with three saves on four shots

Third Quarter (8-5 SHU)

  • The game took a massive swing in the third as the Pioneers, who hadn't scored for 20:55 straight minutes heading into halftime, outscored the Bulldogs 6-1 in the frame
  • As the scoreless streak extended for another nearly three minutes, Saggese finally broke the streak with a strike while O'Reilly followed less than two minutes later to even the score at 4-4
  • Beeson scored just 29 seconds later as the Bulldogs retook the lead but a crucial 4-0 SHU run to end the quarter saw all momentum swing in favor of the road side
  • Four different players scored as SHU initially took advantage with an EMO goal off the stick of Saggese while Drew Edwards found the back of the net to give SHU their first lead of the game with 1:41 remaining in the quarter
  • That late push to end the third continued as Jaden Walcot pumped in his fourth man-up goal of the season with 25 seconds left before Jake Giaquinto took advantage of a Bryant turnover following a faceoff and ran down two-thirds of the field before scoring a key goal with just two seconds left in the quarter
  • The dominant showing showed in the statistics as SHU outshot the Bulldogs 14-6 and won the turnover battle 6-1 in the quarter

Fourth Quarter (11-8 SHU)

  • Bryant attempted a late-game push as Ryan Cerino scored the first goal of the quarter to make it 8-6 with 10:34 remaining
  • However, the Pioneers put any hope of a Bryant comeback to bed with a 3-0 run over a span of 1:41 starting with a Reed Avveduti unassisted strike followed by Weiss' second of the day and Tuttle put home another as all of the sudden SHU led 11-6 with 7:19 left
  • Neither team scored for more than four minutes before Bryant made a last-gasp effort with consecutive goals in 45 seconds that made it 11-8 SHU but it was not enough as the Pioneers benefitted from four Dutton saves in the quarter to walk away with the crucial NEC win


  • A win of monumental proportion, this marks the first time in 13 all-time meetings that SHU has scored a win over Bryant
  • The Bulldogs came into today having outscored SHU 154-79 (+75) in the 12 prior meetings
  • This marks the most goals the Pioneers have ever scored against the Bulldogs (previous high was nine back on May 2, 2013) while it also signals the fewest goals allowed in 13 meetings with Bryant (previous low was nine on April 26, 2016)
  • Bryant had dominated the series history as the averaging margin of victory for the Bulldogs was +6.3 while the Pioneers had been outscored by at least four goals in nine of the 12 previous meetings
  • The Pioneers continue to erase halftime deficits as this marks the fourth time this season that SHU has won despite trailing at the half
  • The victory also moves the Pioneers' away record to 4-2 on the season which ties a program Div. I record for most road wins in a single-season
  • The Pioneers have won four games away from Campus Field twice before, most-recently in 2017, and will go for a program record fifth road win in the 2019 regular season finale on Saturday, April 27th at Wagner
  • Saggese continues to produce at an elite level as he notched another four points today to up his NEC-leading total to 53 (31 goals, 22 assists) on the season
  • Saggese extended his multi-goal streak to five straight games while his point streak is up to 42 straight games (tied for fifth-longest active streak in the nation)
  • Tuttle racked up three points to equal his total over the previous two games combined
  • O'Reilly extends what is a breakout senior campaign as he scored twice on the day to move his season total to 16, good enough for third-most on the team
  • Weiss matched his season and career-high with his three-point effort as he has reached that plateau three times now on the season
  • Giaquinto took all but one faceoff on the day for SHU, going 10-for-22 with five ground balls
  • Reigning NEC Defensive Player of the Week Joseph Cipoletti continued to play well as he tallied three ground balls and two caused turnovers
  • Both Donovan Lacey and Conor Sullivan tallied two ground balls and one caused turnover on the afternoon
  • Logan Liljeberg dished out one assist as the sophomore extends his point streak to 26 straight games as the midfielder has at least one point in every game he has played thus far in his career

Senior Day is slated for next Saturday as another huge NEC matchup has Saint Joseph's (2-1 NEC) coming to Campus Field for a 1:00 PM start. The Pioneers are 3-7 all-time against the Hawks and have lost two straight and five of the last six meetings in the series.