FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Sacred Heart University men's lacrosse team trailed #19 Denver University 12-7 midway through the fourth quarter, but turned it on late and scored five unanswered goals to force overtime at Campus Field, Saturday afternoon. In the fourth overtime, DU freshman midfielder Jeremy Noble tallied the game-winning goal just 39 seconds into the extra frame.
The loss evened the Sacred Heart Pioneers' record at 3-3, while the Denver Pioneers improved to 5-2 on the season.
Trailing 12-7, SHU freshman attack Bailey Dodds posted his first career goal, ending a 5-0 run by DU. Sacred Heart cut the lead to three on an unassisted goal by senior midfielder Billy Skelos with under five minutes left in regulation. At the 3:09 mark, Dodds netted his second, while being slammed to the ground, by finding the back of the net through the lower left corner of the goal.
In the final minutes of regulation, Sacred Heart's top two scorers took over. With 2:16 left to play, freshman attack Mike Mawdsley (Innisfil, Ont.), from classmate Alex Miller (Ridgewood, N.J.) tallied his 13th of the year to cut the deficit to one. Only 22 seconds later, sophomore attack Bryan Badolato (West Islip, N.Y.) scored his fourth of the game and team-leading 14th of the season to tie the game at 12 and force overtime.
Denver had the best chance to score in the first three overtimes when just 17 seconds into the third extra frame junior attack Alex Demopoulos led a two on one, but SHU senior goalie Zach Frank (Islip Terrace, N.Y.) turned away the potential winning score.
Sophomore midfielder Eric Law opened the game for Denver with the first score of the contest and each of the first three for the visiting side. Sacred Heart held a 3-2 lead after the first on goals by Badolato, junior attack Matt King (Brewster, N.Y.), on the man-up, and Miller with just three seconds before the buzzer.
After DU tied it on Law's third, just a minute and a half into the second, Denver took a two-goal lead on goals from Demopoulos and junior attack Mark Matthews only seven seconds apart. SHU came back to tie it at five with goals by Badolato and junior midfielder Aaron Lupo (Schenectady, N.Y.). senior midfielder Andrew Lay recorded a man-up goal to put Denver back on top and Demopoulos added another, nine seconds before the break, to give the DU Pioneers a 7-5 halftime lead.
The SHU Pioneers battled back from another two-goal defeicit in the third quarter with Badolato's third of the day and an equalizing score from sophomore midfielder Tim Sanders (Ashburn, Va.). Denver would control the next 15 minutes of lacrosse as it scored five straight to go up 12-7. In that span, senior attack Todd Baxter scored twice, while Demopoulos added his third of the game.
The four overtimes marked the second game in three years for Sacred Heart that has gone four overtimes or more. In 2009, the Pioneers defeated Villanova in five overtimes, 8-7 on Campus Field. Frank was the goalie on that day for SHU and stopped a career-high 27 shots. Today he made 21 saves, but came up on the losing end of the marathon contest. For Denver, freshman goalie Jamie Faus made 15 saves to earn the win.
Denver held a slight 48-45 edge in shots for the game, including a narrow 9-7 lead in the four extra periods. DU also led in groundballs 56-44, with Noble collecting a game-high 11.
Sacred Heart returns to action with a midweek contest at intrastate rival Hartford at 4:00 pm, Wednesday March 23.