FAIRFIELD, Conn. - The Pioneers look to stay in the hunt for a bid to the Northeast Conference playoffs as they visit Quinnipiac for a 1:00 pm face-off at the Quinnipiac Lacrosse Field in Hamden, Saturday afternoon.
About the Pioneers... Sacred Heart has lost back-to-back NEC games and five-of-six overall to enter this weekend 4-7 and 1-2. In each of their last two games, the Pioneers have squandered one-goal halftime leads by being held scoreless in the third quarter and coming up short with last ditch comeback efforts in the fourth. Sophomore attack Bryan Badolato leads the way with 31 points on 20 goals and a team-best 11 assists. Freshman attack Mike Mawdsley is the team's top goal scorer with 22 to go with eight helpers. Mawdsley and junior midfielder Matt Ferrino share the team lead with four man-up scores. In net, senior Zach Frank holds a 9.79 goals against average and .573 save percentage on 138 saves. Sophomore face-off specialist Stephen Kontos has won 118 of 218 draws and scooped up a team-leading 53 groundballs, while freshman long-stick Tim Caton has picked up 36. Next weekend the regular season comes to an end when the Pioneers travel to Robert Morris for a 1:00 pm game and possibly the final spot in the NECs on the line.
Scouting the Bobcats... Quinnipiac opened league play with a pair of wins, but fell in its most recent contest to Mount St. Mary's, 16-10 at home. Senior midfielder Kevin Kelly leads the 4-6 Bobcats with 29 points, including a team-high 18 goals. On attack, senior Christian Haggerty is second with 25 points on 12 goals and a team-best 13 assists. Freshman Dylan Webster has been named the NEC Rookie of the Week five times so far and has totaled 17 points on 11 goals and six helpers, while also producing a .528 win percentage in the face-off X and grabbing 31 grounders. Senior netminder Kevin Benzing owns a 10.31 GAA and .502 save percentage, while starting every game for Quinnipiac. The Bobcats are looking to clinch a spot in the NEC playoffs with a win. They finish the regular season at Wagner, next Saturday.
Last Time Out... Sacred Heart held a one-goal lead over Bryant at the half, but came up empty in the third quarter en route to a 9-7 home defeat on the team's "Senior Night", last Saturday. It was the second straight game that the Pioneers were blanked in the third frame. This time it was 5-0, but SHU was able to get back in the game in the fourth by outscoring the Bulldogs 3-1, but still fell short. The Pioneers attack looked strong and patient through the first two quarters of play. Mawdsley hooked up with Badolato twice to put SHU on top heading into the break. Gary Crowley and Peter McMahon each scored twice for BU in its five-goal third. Back on track in the fourth, Mawdsley scored his 22nd of the year and sophomore Trevor Dauses netted his second of the game to close the gap to two.
Last Time They Met... Quinnipiac led 10-6 in the fourth quarter, but Sacred Heart got goals from Jon Flood and Timmy Katz only 47 second apart to cut the lead to two with 6:25 remaining. However, the Bobcats would score three unanswered goals, the first of which came on the man-down by Zach Pall. QU came out strong early with a 3-0 lead and led 7-2 late in the first half. Christian Haggerty scored five times for the Bobcats, while Katz and Evan Morgan each scored twice for SHU.
All-Time vs. Quinnipiac... Despite losing last season's contest, Sacred Heart still leads the all-time series against Quinnipiac, 10-5. The first match-up was a 15-3 win for the Bobcats, then the Braves, in 1991. Between 1994 and 2000, the Pioneers won seven straight contests. The two teams did not take the field against each other between 2002 and 2006. Since then each team has won twice, including wins in 2008 and 2009 for SHU.
NEC Leaderboard... The Pioneers rank third in both scoring offense and scoring defense in the league at 10.2 and 9.7 goals per game. At attack, Bryan Badolato sits in third with 3.11 points per game. Face-off specialist Stephen Kontos is second with a .561 win percentage and third in groundballs at 5.1 per game. In the cage, Zach Frank owns the top save percentage at .573 and third best GAA at 9.79.
On This Date... Sacred Heart is 1-1 in its two previous games on April 23. Most recently, the Pioneers fell to Villanova at home in a 2005 CAA contest. In 1994, Sacred Heart was victorious over Queens College, 12-5.
Up Next... The Pioneers shut the door on the 2011 regular season, while still having a shot at the post season, with a road contest at Robret Morris, next Saturday at 1:00 pm. Last season, the Colonials came to Campus Field and narrowly escaped with a 12-10 win in the annual "Patriot Game".