Binghamton Bearcats (0-0) at Sacred Heart Pioneers (0-0)
February 16, 12 PM - Campus Field - Fairfield, Conn.
Setting The Scene... Sacred Heart opens the 2014 season under first-year head coach Jon Basti Sunday against Binghamton. The Pioneers were picked fifth in the NEC Preseason Coaches' Poll after reaching the NEC Tournament last season for the first time in program history.
Series History vs. Binghamton... Sacred Heart is 0-2 all-time against the Bearcats. Binghamton won the first meeting 9-8 on March 18, 2006 and the last meeting 10-8 on March 15, 2008. The Pioneers are 10-16 all-time against current members of America East. Sacred Heart has faced Hartford the most of any America East team, going 8-7 against the Hawks all-time. The Bearcats are one of four America East schools the Pioneers will face this season.
MEET THE NEW BOSS... Sunday's game is Sacred Heart's first under new head coach Jon Basti. Basti came to Sacred Heart after being the Associate Head Coach at Hartford for five seasons. During his tenure there, Hartford won its first America East title and reached the NCAA Tournament in 2011.
WHO'S BACK?... The Pioneers return four of their top six point scorers from 2013, led by senior attackman Matt Gannon who had a team-high 44. Cody Marquis had 27 goals and 36 points with Mike Mawdsley adding 26 goals. Sacred Heart also returns a pair of 40-ground ball long poles in Andrew Newbold and Tim Caton.
GANNON DISHING ASSISTS... Senior attackman Matt Gannon led the NEC in assists last season, averaging 2.57 per game this season. He was also fifth in the nation in assists per game. Gannon had 37 assists this season, the most for a Pioneer in a single season since the program moved to Division I. He has had at least two assists in 11 games in 2013.
MAWDSLEY APPROACHING 100... Mike Mawdsley enters his senior season with 84 goals and 96 points, putting him four shy of 100 for his career. He has scored at least 25 goals in each of his first three seasons as a Pioneer, tallying a career-high 30 in 2012 while shooting 56.6%. He finished last season 19th in the nation in shot percentage at 41.9%.
NEWBOLD COAST TO COAST... Senior defenseman Andrew Newbold has made himself an asset in both ends of the field over the last two seasons. In 2012 and 2013, Newbold had 40 ground balls, three goals, and an assist. He had a team-high 22 caused turnovers in 2013 to give him 34 over the last two seasons.
SO CLOSE... Nine of Sacred Heart's 14 games last season were decided by three goals or less. The Pioneers were 1-8 in those games, losing to Vermont in overtime and Quinnipiac in triple overtime.
SUCCESS AT THE X... Sacred Heart has big shoes to fill at the faceoff x in 2014 with the graduation of Stephen Kontos. Last season, Kontos was eighth in the nation in faceoff percentage, winning 59.2% of his draws. He was second in the NEC in faceoff percentage behind Bryant's Kevin Massa, who led the nation in that statistic. Kontos has improved his percentage every season at Sacred Heart.
SCORING FROM THE MIDFIELD... The Pioneers also have to replace 62 points from its midfield from last season. In 2013, Matt King led Sacred Heart with 29 goals and had 11 assists for 40 points. Shane Foley added 22 points on 19 goals and three assists. Alex Miller is Sacred Heart's top returning scorer in the midfield, putting up 13 assists and 17 points in 2013. Sophomore Alex Dodge was an NEC All-Rookie Team midfielder after tallying five goals and three assists last season.