FAIRFIELD, Conn. - Sacred Heart concludes non-conference play with a road game at St. John's Saturday afternoon. Face-off is slated for 1:00 pm in the final contest before NEC play kicks off next weekend.
About the Pioneers... Sophomore attack Bryan Badolato has already doubled his total in points from a year ago and leads the 3-4 Pioneers with 24 points on 14 goals and a team-high 10 assists. Starting up top with Badolato are freshmen Mike Mawdsley and Cody Marquis. Mawdsley is the team's leading goal scorer at 15, while Marquis has registered a point in each of the seven games this season to total seven assists and four goals. Sacred Heart has lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, but takes its 2-1 record away from Campus Field on the road to St. Johns, Saturday. In the midfield, sophomore specialist Stephen Kontos has won 78 face-offs and nabbed a team-best 37 groundballs. Senior goalie Zach Frank has been solid in net, holding onto a .596 save percentage and 9.40 goals against average.
Scouting the Red Storm... St. John's, who is winless on its home field so far, enters the weekend 1-6 and has lost six straight after defeating Holy Cross in its season opener. Freshman attack Kevin Cernuto has been a force offensively for the Johnnies, having scored 15 goals and added seven assists. Classmate Kieran McArdle ranks second on the team in scoring with 12 goals and five helpers. In the cage, sophomore goalkeeper Jeff Lowman has started all seven games and owns a .568 save percentage and 10.35 GAA. Sophomore long-stick mid Dillon Ayers has collected a team-high 32 grounders and caused a team-best nine turnovers.
Last Time Out... The Pioneers fell behind early to in-state rival Hartford, on the road Wednesday afternoon, and were never able to recover as they fell for the second straight contest. The Hawks avenged a 7-6 overtime loss at Campus Field a year ago with a 14-8 win on their home field on a rainy afternoon. Hartford raced out to a 4-0 lead in the first quarter and held SHU to just one goal in the frame. Trailing 12-6 in the fourth, the Pioneers made a late run to cut the lead to four on back-to-back goals by Mawdsley and junior midfielder Matt Ferrino, who scored on the man-up. The Hawks responded with goals by Rory Nunamacher and Ryan Compitello to put the game away. Ferrino, Mawdsley and freshman attack Bailey Dodds all scored twice for SHU. Badolato chipped in with a pair of assists, while junior attack Matt King added a man-up goal and two helpers. As a team, Sacred Heart 4-9 in man-up opportunities, but allowed Hartford to convert on three-of-eight tries. For the game, the Hawks dominated the Pioneers in shots, 44-29. Frank stopped 14 shots between the pipes for Sacred Heart.
Last Time They Met... Sacred Heart staked a 7-0 halftime lead and held on to beat St. John's by a score of 8-6 on "Senior Day", last season. Joe Caridi and Jon Flood each found the back of the net three times, while Timmy Katz added one, all in the first half. Harry Kutner and Charlie Holenstein cut into the SHU lead early in the third quarter and Terence Leach helped the Red Storm climb within one with 3:51 to play. After a St. John's penalty, Evan Morgan put the game away with a goal in the final 20 seconds. Pioneer goalkeeper Tom Trgo made 19 saves for the game, including 10 in the first half shutout. STJ netminder Jeff Lowman stopped 16 shots for the Red Storm.
On This Date... Previously, SHU has played on March 26 three times in program history. The Pioneers are 2-1 on this date, with both wins coming in the Division II era over Dowling in 1994 and Wesleyan in 1997. In 2005, the Sacred Heart Pioneers fell at home to the Denver Pioneers, 19-7.
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 opens Northeast Conference play with three consecutive home games. Next weekend, the Pioneers play host to Wagner for their first game under the lights of Campus Field as face-off is set for 7:00 pm.