February 23, 2007

Men's Lacrosse Travels to Colgate for Season Opener

Feb. 23, 2007

Sacred Heart vs. Colgate Game Notes in PDF Format
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Sacred Heart Pioneers (0-0, 0-0 CAA) vs. Colgate Raiders (1-0, 0-0 Patriot League)

Saturday, February 24, 2007- 1:00 pm - Hamilton, N.Y. - Tyler's Field (2,500)

Sacred Heart Travels to Colgate to Open 2007... For the third-straight season the Sacred Heart men's lacrosse team will open the season against the Colgate Raiders. The Pioneers will make the trip to Hamilton, New York this Saturday afternoon to face a Raider team coming off a 19-4 win over Hartford in their season-opener. The Pioneers have lost their last four season-openers, two at home and two on the road.

The Series... Colgate leads the all-time series, 3-1. The Raiders have won three-straight in the series after a 12-10 win in Fairfield in last season's opener. Colgate dropped the Pioneers in overtime, 8-7, at home in 2005 and won 10-7 on Campus Field in 2004. SHU took the first-ever meeting between the two schools, 9-6, in Hamilton, N.Y. in 2003.

Up Next... The Pioneers will return home next Saturday to host Wagner College. The Pioneers will take on the Seahawks for the first time since the 2002 season. SHU is 3-0 all-time versus Wagner.

Last Meeting with Colgate... Colgate's Brian Robinson scored five goals, two in the fourth quarter to put the Raiders up for good en route to a 12-10 win over Sacred Heart in the Pioneer's 2006 season opener. SHU trailed 7-4 at the half but scored four unanswered goals in the third quarter to carry an 8-7 lead into the final frame. The Raiders answered with five in the fourth to come away with 12-10 win on Campus Field. SHU got four points apiece from Peter Greco (3g, 1a) and Kiel Adams (2g, 2a) while Matt Robideau added a pair of scores and an assist. Thomas Hind made 15 saves in the cage for SHU.

Scouting the Raiders... The Colgate Raiders are 1-0 on the year after a 19-4 win over Hartford in the season opener. The Raiders received some votes in this week's Nike / InsideLacrosse.com Top-20 poll after the blowout win. Senior attacker Jeff Hiller earned the first Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week award of the season after scoring three goals and assisting on two others in the win. Junior Matt Lalli and freshman James Yetter earned honorable mention recognition. Lalli posted two goals and three assists while Yetter notched a goal and a helper against the Hawks.

2007 Team Captains... Four seniors and a junior will captain the 2007 Pioneers. Senior attackers Peter Greco and Rory Morse, senior midfielder Casey Kirch, senior defender Pat Healy and junior midfield Tony Tanzi were voted team captains by their teammates.

Greco Leads the Offensive Attack... Senior Peter Greco returns as the Pioneers top-scorer after posting 12 goals and 12 assists (24 pts.) in 2006. Sophomore Bobby Karl returns after earning a spot on the CAA All-Rookie Team last year with eight goals and 11 assists. Senior Rory Morse returns to the lineup after missing most of 2006 with an injury. Morse posted six goals and four assists his sophomore season.

Vargas Takes Over the Cage... Junior Ricardo Vargas will take over the starting goalkeeper duties this season after playing behind Thomas Hind and Jim Millhausen the last two years. In his two seasons, Vargas saw limited action appearing in three games last year making eight saves. His freshman year, he played in four games with 11 saves. He will be backed up by sophomore Mike Murtha and freshman Zack Frank.

Smith and Wolpert on Face-off Duty... Junior Chris Wolpert and sophomore Zach Smith will share face-off duties to start the season. Smith took 78 face-offs last season, winning 38, a team-best .487 percentage. He added 17 ground balls as well. Wolpert has made the transition from goal to midfield and will take the face-off "x" for the first time this year.

Strength of CAA Lacrosse... The 2007 season is just underway but the Colonial Athletic Association is showing early signs of being a force across the national lacrosse landscape. The league currently has four teams ranked in the Nike / Inside Lacrosse Top-20 Poll. Towson is 13th in the this week's poll, Delaware 15th, Drexel 17th and Hofstra 18th. This weekend will feature a full slate of games but the Drexel Dragons have already pulled a major early season upset, stopping the #1 ranked Virginia Cavaliers, 11-10, last week.

Preseason CAA Poll... The Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens received six first place votes to earn the top spot in the 2007 CAA Preseason Coaches Poll. The Towson Tigers received the other first place vote and were picked second. Defending champion Hofstra was tabbed third followed by Villanova and Drexel. The Pioneers were picked sixth and Robert Morris rounded out the field in seventh.

2007 Schedule... The Pioneers have put together a competitive 13 game schedule in 2007 featuring four games against teams ranked in the USILA Preseason Coaches Top-20. In non-league action, SHU will take on Colgate, Wagner, Manhattan, Binghamton, UMass and Hartford. The 2007 CAA Tournament will take place on May 2nd and 5th.

Pioneer History... This is the 17th season of men's lacrosse at Sacred Heart. The Pioneers post a mark of 102-116 (.468) in their 17 year history. Head Coach Tom Mariano is the program's longest tenured coach in his 11th season at the helm. SHU begins it's sixth season of competition in the Colonial Athletic Association, one of the premier lacrosse leagues in the NCAA. Prior to joining the league, the Pioneers spent two seasons competing in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.