Pioneers Head to Villanova for CAA Match-Up
March 28, 2008
Sacred Heart Pioneers (5-1, 1-0 CAA) at Villanova Wildcats (1-7, 0-1 CAA)
Game #7 - Saturday, March 29, 2008- 1:00 pm - Villanova, Pa. - Villanova Stadium (12,000)
Pioneers Head to Villanova for CAA Match-Up... Sacred Heart is off to its best start at the Division I level as they carry their 5-1 record to Villanova on Saturday for a Colonial Athletic Association battle. The Pioneers are riding a pair of wins over UMass, 9-7, and Robert Morris, 15-11, last week as they take on the Wildcats looking to go 2-0 in CAA play. Villanova has dropped six-straight coming off a 15-8 loss to Ohio State last week.
The Series... Villanova leads the all-time series, 8-1. Sacred Heart snapped an eight-game Wildcat winning streak in the series with a 15-14 win in the season finale at home. The Wildcats and Pioneers have met each season dating back to 1999. SHU is 1-4 at home and 0-4 at Villanova.
Up Next... Sacred Heart will take a break from the CAA schedule on Wednesday to host instate rival Quinnipiac. The Pioneers are back on the road next Saturday when they head to #12/#15 Hofstra for a conference match-up.
Last Meeting with Villanova... The Sacred Heart Pioneers got four points each from seniors Michael Collins and Peter Greco and four goals from sophomore Bobby Rushton on the road to a 15-14 win over Villanova in the season finale last season. The Pioneers clawed their way out of a 4-0 first quarter hole to lead 7-6 at the end of one and scored four in the fourth to jump in front for good en route to the win. The fourth quarter belonged to the Pioneers as SHU tied it at 12-12 just under two minutes in and took the lead for good at 11:41 on Rushton's third marker. Sophomore Bobby Karl made it a two-goal lead, 14-12, scoring unassisted at 8:50. SHU fended off a late Wildcat rally, overcoming a pair of turnovers late while junior Ricardo Vargas made the biggest of his 12 saves with 50 seconds left, stopping a Haas' shot to secure the win. In addition to Rushton's four goals, Tony Tanzi finished with a hat-trick. The Wildcats held the edge in shots, 47-34, and in ground balls, 32-28. Chris Colliniates won 18 of the 31 face-offs he took, picking up a game-high 11 ground balls. MacDonald had three goals and three assists while Eric Heidenberger finished with three scores and an assist.
A Balanced Pioneer Attack... 17 Different Pioneers have scored goals on the season as the SHU offense heads into Saturday's match-up averaging 12.33 goals per game. Three Pioneers are in double digits for goals scored in Timmy Katz (16), Dan Casciano (11) and Bobby Rushton (10) while a total of 10 different Pioneers have scored two or more goals on the year.
Take Your Shot and Make it Count... Despite being out shot 250 to 222 on the season, the Pioneers have done an excellent job of getting their shots on goal and making them count. Of their 222 total shots, 148 have been on goal, a .667 shooting percentage. Timmy Katz is among the team leaders, scoring 16 goals on 21 shots on the cage this season. In fact, Katz has managed to just miss putting the ball on goal just four time through six games.
Casciano and Rushton Lead SHU Past RMU... Juniors Dan Casciano and Bobby Rushton scored a combined seven goals to lead SHU past Robert Morris 15-11 in their CAA opener. Casciano, a transfer from Marist College, scored three times and raised his season total to 11 goals on the year. Rushton had a break-out game, matching his career-high with four goals against the Colonials. Rushton is second on the team in scoring with 14 points on 10 goals with four assists.
Katz Leading the Offense... Sophomore Timmy Katz scored just three goals with an assist in 2007 but has found nothing but success in the early going this season. Katz has at least a goal in every game this season and leads the team with 16 goals and seven assists for 23 points. He had a break-out performance in spurring a six-goal comeback against Hartford, scoring a career-high six goals against the Hawks, falling one goal shy of the school record for a game. For his efforts, Katz was named both the CAA and the Turfer Athletic NEILA Player of the Week.
CAA Statistical Leaders... The SHU Pioneers are leading the CAA in goals per game at 12.33 and points per game at 17.67 SHU leads the league in shot percentage, converting 74 goals on 222 shots (.333), and in shots on goal per game (24.67). Sophomore Timmy Katz is second among the league leaders in goals per game (2.67) and points per game (3.83). He is second in the league with four man-up goals on the year and is tied for first with two game-winners. Junior Zach Smith is third in the CAA in face-off percentage (.566) and fourth in ground balls per game (4.33). Senior Ricardo Vargas is second among league leaders in goals against average (7.74), fourth in save percentage (.534) and seventh in saves per game (6.20).
Pioneers in the NCAA Rankings... Timmy Katz ranks 7th in the Nation in goals per game and 11th in points per game. Katz's six goal afternoon against Hartford is tied for the second highest number of goals scored in a game this year. The Pioneers own the 5th ranked scoring offense and are 26th in scoring defense, 18th a man-down.
Streak vs. UMass Snapped... The Pioneers have faced regional power Massachusetts every season since 2003 but had lost five-straight heading into last Tuesday's match-up. Sacred Heart put an end to that streak with a convincing 9-7 win over the Minutemen to improve to 4-1 on the season. SHU got two goals and two assists from Timmy Katz and a stellar 13 save performance in goal by Ricardo Vargas to lead the way.
McGlensey Recognized by Inside Lacrosse Magazine... Senior defenseman Brett McGlensey was named to the Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Yearbook Preseason All-Colonial Athletic Association team in a vote by the league's head coaches. He also garnered Preseason All-American Honorable Mention honors, announced in December.
Tanzi Earns Preseason All-New England Honors... Two-time team captain Tony Tanzi was named to the All-New England Preseason team by the region's 12 head coaches. The senior midfielder is a two-time captain for the Pioneers.
Preseason CAA Poll... The Drexel Dragons just edged out Towson University for the top-spot in this season's preseason poll. Both teams received three first place votes with the Dragon earning the top-sport with 33 points to Towson's 32. The remaining first-place vote went to defending champion Delaware, who advanced to their first-ever NCAA Final Four last season. Hofstra was picked fourth, Villanova fifth, Sacred Heart sixth and Robert Morris seventh.
Pioneer History... This is the 18th season of men's lacrosse at Sacred Heart. The Pioneers post a mark of 111-125 (.470) in their history. Head Coach Tom Mariano is the program's longest tenured coach in his 12th season at the helm. SHU begins it's seventh season of competition in the Colonial Athletic Association, one of the premier lacrosse leagues in the nation. Prior to joining the league, the Pioneers spent two seasons competing in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.