PHILADELPHIA – The Sacred Heart men's lacrosse could not overcome an early 4-0 run by #20 Bryant on Thursday night, falling 12-8 to the Bulldogs in the NEC Tournament semifinals at Sweeney Field on the campus of Saint Joseph's.
Bryant (13-4) scored first in Thursday night's game, as Dan Sipperly scored at the 10:50 mark of the opening quarter. Tucker James followed with a goal with 6:45 to play in the first quarter, giving the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead. Bryant led 4-0 before Alex Dodge (Smithtown, N.Y.) got Sacred Heart (6-9) on the scoreboard with 3:49 left in the first, ripping a low shot past Bryant goalie Gunnar Waldt to make the score 4-1. Brian Schlansker got the Bryant lead back to four with a goal at the 1:36 mark to put the score at 5-1 heading into the second quarter.
Dodge scored his second goal early in the second quarter, putting home an Alex Miller (Ridgewood, N.J.) feed to make the score 5-2. Bryant scored back-to-back goals late in the quarter as tallies by Colin Dunster and Shane Morrell put the Bulldogs ahead 7-2 with 2:42 to play in the half. Cody Marquis (Londonderry, N.H.) got the Pioneers back within four with 0:36 to play, scooping a ground ball near the crease and scoring to put the score at 7-3. Sacred heart outshot Bryant 7-6 in the second quarter, but didn't get any closer on the scoreboard before halftime.
Bryant grew its lead to five in the third quarter on goals by Sipperly and Morrell. Miller scored off of a Mike Mawdsley at the 11:07 mark for the lone Pioneers' tally of the period. The Bulldogs opened the fourth with consecutive goals by James and Sipperly, going up 11-4 with 9:19 to play. Mawdsley answered with two goals of his own, putting the score at 11-6 with 7:32 to play. After Colin Dunster scored at the 3:52 mark, Sacred Heart scored seven seconds later on a Matt Gannon (Huntington, N.Y.) tally. Marquis followed with his second goal of the game with 2:57 to play to get the Pioneers back within four, 12-8.
This is the second consecutive season that Sacred Heart has lost to Bryant in the NEC semifinals. Bryant outshot the Pioneers 30-27 and had a 38-14 advantage in ground balls. Morrell and Sipperly each had hat tricks for Bryant as James had four points on two goals and two assists.
Sacred Heart closes the 2014 season with a record of 6-9, doubling its win total from a season ago. The Pioneers also qualified for its second consecutive NEC Tournament.