Pioneers Look to Get Back on Track Against In-State Rival Hartford Tomorrow
FAIRFIELD, Conn. - Sacred Heart closed out the non-conference portion of its home schedule with a 13-12 marathon loss to #19 Denver in four overtimes on Campus Field on Saturday. Today the Pioneers look to bounce back as they head up the road to take on intrastate rival Hartford at 4:00 pm.
About the Pioneers... SHU enters the week 3-3 and is in action twice, with a second road contest at St. John's on Saturday. Sophomore attack Bryan Badolato leads the Pioneers in scoring with 22 points on 14 goals and eight asissts, all team-highs. Freshman attack Mike Mawdsley has come on strong in the first month of his collegiate career with 13 goals to go with three assists. Classmate Cody Marquis ranks third on the team in scoring with 10 points on four goals and six assists. Senior goalie Zach Frank is one of the few veterans in the SHU lineup. He owns a .612 save percentage and 8.75 goals against average. In the face-off circle, sophomore midfielder Stephen Kontos has grabbed a team-leading 36 groundballs and won 75 draws in 127 tries. Sophomore defensemen Nick Soubry and Pat Fletcher have each caused nine turnovers.
Scouting the Hawks... Hartford went 1-1 last week and currently stands at 4-3 overall. The Hawks fell on the road to Bucknell, 7-6, before winning at Quinnipiac, 10-9, in overtime. Junior attack Ryan Compitello leads the team in scoring with 19 total points on eight goals and a team-best 11 assists. Fellow junior Carter Bender is second with 16 points, including nine goals. Bender scored three times against QU and assisted on Compitello's game-winner in the extra frame. Sophomore Jared Franze is the team's top scorer with 11 goals, while classmate Rory Nunamacher has chipped in with 10 scores. In goal, sophomore Frank Piechota has started all seven games between the pipes and holds a .538 save percentage and 8.73 GAA.
Last Time Out... The Pioneers erased a five-goal deficit to force overtime against #19 Denver at Campus Field, last Saturday. The two teams played three straight scoreless extra periods, until DU freshman Jeremy Noble posted the game-winning score 39 seconds into the fourth OT.Trailing 12-7 midway through the fourth, freshman attack Bailey Dodds ended a 5-0 run by Denver, followed by an unassisted score by senior midfielder Billy Skelos. Dodds netted his second of the day to trim the lead to two. In the final minutes of regulation, Mawdsley cut the deficit to one and Badolato tallied his fourth of the afternoon to send the game to overtime. Denver had the best chance in the first three OTs when 17 seconds into the third junior Alex Demopoulos led a two on one, but was turned away by Frank. Frank stopped 21 shots for SHU, while his freshman counterpart Jamie Faus made 15 saves. Freshman Alex Miller scored once for the Pioneers and added a pair assists.
Last Time They Met... Evan Morgan brought SHU even with Hartford in the final second of regulation, at Campus Field last season, and scored 1:47 into overtime to hand the Pioneers a 7-6 win. Sacred Heart trailed 6-3 at the half as Tom Trgo kept the Hawks out of his cage in the second half and made 12 total saves. Timmy Katz posted a hat trick and an assist for the Pioneers. Aidan Genik scored twice and added an assist, while goalie Scott Bement stopped 18 shots for Hartford.
All-Time vs. Hartford... Sacred Heart and Hartford have faced each other 12 times in the past 13 seasons. The Hawks won each of the first four match-ups, but the Pioneers have won seven of eight to take a 7-5 series lead. Currently, SHU is riding a four game win streak against its in-state rival, with each of the last two coming in overtime and all four decided by a total of five goals.
On This Date... The Pioneers are 2-4 in program history when playing on March 23. So far this season they are also 1-0 in midweek games. At the Division II level, in 1994 and 1996, Sacred Heart posted wins on this date over Quinnipiac and Dowling. Most recently, SHU fell to Massachusetts 12-4 in 2004.
Top 50... Senior goalie Zach Frank ranks for 9th in save percentage at .612 and also ranks 32nd in the nation for goals against with an average of 8.76. In scoring, sophomore Bryan Badolato is in a four-way tie for 12th at 3.67 points, tied for 27th in goals per game at 2.33 and 36th with 1.33 assists and ranks 32nd nationally with a .400 shot percentage.. Freshman Mike Mawdsley follows closely behind in goals per game in 35th with 2.17. Sophomore face-off specialist Stephen Kontos is 16th in the country with 6.00 groundballs per game and 18th with a win percentage of .591. On defense, sophomore Pat Fletcher and Nick Soubry make the grade at 43rd in caused turnover with 1.5 per contest.
Marathon Goalie... Last week's match-up vs. #19 Denver marked the second time that senior goalie Zach Frank has been in net for a game that went into four overtimes or more. He made a season-high 21 saves in the 13-12 loss to DU. For the week of March 23-29, 2009, Frank had a career week and earned player of the week honors from three separate organizations. He made a school-record 27 saves in Sacred Heart's epic five overtime victory over Villanova on March 28. Fifteen of those stops came in the fourth quarter and overtime. For his efforts, Frank was named the CAA, Nike/Inside Lacrosse Division I, and Turfer/NEILA Player of the Week. He also picked up nine groundballs in the win over Nova.
Up Next... Sacred Heart stays on the road for a 1:00 pm Saturday contest against St. John's. It will be the final non-conference game of the season for the Pioneers, who begin conference play the following week as they host Wagner at 7:00 pm on April 1.