STANDISH, Maine – Saint Joseph's College (9-8, 5-4 GNAC) prevailed over Rivier University (6-9, 5-4 GNAC), 12-11, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's lacrosse contest on a rainy Wednesday evening at the SJC Athletics Complex.
With the victory and Mount Ida College's 6-5 victory over Johnson & Wales University earlier this evening, Saint Joseph's clinches the #4 seed in the GNAC Tournament and will host fifth-seeded Rivier in a conference quarterfinal on Saturday at 1:00 PM.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Trailing 11-10 after Rivier senior attack Liam Ryan (Dorchester, Mass.) scored his third goal of the game with 8:36 remaining, Saint Joseph's tied the contest on a Brendan Hanrahan (Spencer, Mass.) three minutes later and senior midfielder Matt Donnell (Watertown, Mass.) potted what proved to be the game winner with 2:38 remaining.
In open space on the right side of the goal from about 25 feet out, Donnell found a sliver of space with a perfect shot between Rivier junior keeper Matt Cloutman (Peabody, Mass.) and the right goalpost for the clincher.
The Raiders controlled play in the opening six minutes and held a 3-0 lead as a result, as Ryan, Colby Larsen (Windham, N.H.), and Eric Guinasso (Pelham, N.H.) hit pay-dirt to lift their team to the three-goal cushion with 9:07 left in the first frame.
The Monks responded in a big way, as the hosts netted six unanswered goals – including man-up markers from Donnell, Shane Puleo (Nashua, N.H.), and Dan Cunningham (West Islip, N.Y.) – to claim a 6-3 advantage with 13:44 left in the second stanza.
Unwilling to go down without a fight, the Raiders scored three of the game's next four goals – with all three coming off Larsen's stick – to cut their deficit down to 7-6 heading into intermission.
The teams literally swapped scores during the third quarter and early portion of the fourth before Rivier grabbed their first lead since the opening minutes after Guinasso and Ryan tallied consecutive goals 2:30 minutes apart to make it an 11-10 game.
SJC senior netminder Connor Trainor (Franklin, Mass.) made seven saves in the victory while Cloutman turned away eight shots in a losing effort.
The Monks held advantages in ground balls (36-32) and face-off wins (18-8), converted on eight of 11 clearing attempts, and went 4-6 in man-up situations. The Raiders held the lead in shots (33-30), cleared successfully on 12 of 16 tries, and went 0-4 in man-up scenarios.
LEADERS – SAINT JOSEPH'S:
- Junior Tyler Retalic (Framingham, Mass.) scored three goals on five shots
- Cunningham netted three goals on six shots
- Donnell tallied two goals and an assist with four ground balls
- Finn added a goal and an assist with a pair of ground balls
- Puleo chipped in with a goal and an assist
- Sophomore Shane Fors (Kalamazoo, Mich.) picked up 13 ground balls and won 18 of 26 face-off attempts
- Senior Liam Skinner (Irving, Texas) registered five ground balls and four caused turnovers
LEADERS – RIVIER:
- Larsen scored six goals on seven shots with a pair of ground balls
- Ryan added three goals and two ground balls
- Guinasso scored twice and added an assist
- Junior midfielder A.J. Gearin (Lunenburg, Mass.) picked up nine ground balls and was 8-17 on face-off attempts
With the victory, Saint Joseph's improves to 6-3 in the history of the series with Rivier University and halts a three-game losing streak at the hands of the Raiders.
On Saturday, the Monks will be hosting a postseason contest for the first time since the 2013 campaign when Saint Joseph's suffered a 9-8 setback at the hands of Emmanuel College on April 23rd, 2013…The Monks will also be making their first appearance in the conference tournament since the 2014 campaign when the team fell to Becker College in a quarterfinal, 9-5 (4/23/14)…St. Joe's has not posted nine or more wins since the 2010 team when 10-8 under the watch of Head Coach Mike Edgar.
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 474-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.