Pioneers Host Drexel in CAA Battle
March 30, 2007
Sacred Heart Pioneers (2-3, 1-0 CAA) vs. Drexel Dragons (6-3, 0-0 CAA)
Saturday, March 31, 2007- 1:00 pm - Fairfield, Connecticut - Campus Field (4,000)
Pioneers Host Drexel in CAA Battle... The Sacred Heart men's lacrosse team returns to Campus Field Saturday afternoon to take on the Drexel Dragons in a Colonial Athletic Association match-up. The Pioneers opened the CAA schedule last weekend with a 10-7 win at Robert Morris. The Dragons are coming off wins over Lafayette, 9-6, and VMI, 14-6, coming in and will play their first league contest of the year Saturday afternoon. Drexel is 6-3 coming in with their biggest win of the year coming in the season opener, 11-10, over the #1 ranked Virginia. SHU plays their first game at home since their 22-5 pasting of Wagner on March 3rd.
The Series... Drexel leads the all-time series, 4-1. The Dragons posted an 18-6 win at home last season and have won two-straight with a 7-6 win in Fairfield in 2005. Drexel took the first two meetings, 14-7 in 2002 and 9-8 in 2003. Sacred Heart's lone win in the series took place in 2004 at Drexel.
Up Next... The Pioneers will continue Colonial Athletic Association play next week when the travel down to Towson University on Friday night for a 7:30 pm start.
Last Meeting with Drexel... The Drexel Dragons built a 6-1 first quarter lead and extended it to 9-3 by halftime on their way to an 18-6 win over visiting Sacred Heart on April 15th last season. Drexel's Jeff Pfeffer had a career-high seven points and Adam Dennis netted a career-best five goals en route to the win. Dennis scored three of his five goals in the first six minutes as the Dragons raced to an early lead and never trailed in the contest. The Dragons had goals from nine different players as they had a season-high for goals, assists and points. The Dragons came out of the half and didn't miss a beat offensively, scoring the first four goals of the second half to put the game out of reach. All three of the Pioneers' goals in the second half came on man-up situations. Billy Fuchs and James Hinkson each had a pair of goals.
CAA Rankings... The Sacred Heart offense is ranked 1st in the Colonial Athletic Association in assists per game (5.80) and 2nd in goals per game (9.80) and points per game (15.60). The Pioneers rank 1st in shot percentage (.282), 4th in shots per game (34.8), 3rd in man-up goals (7), 3rd in ground balls per game (33.20), 3rd in saves per game (10.60) and 4th in face-off % (.613). Peter Greco leads the league in assists per game (1.40) and is 3rd in points per game (2.80). Greco is tied for 2nd in man-up goals with three. Sophomore Bobby Karl is 4th in assists per game (1.20) while freshman Evan Morgan is 6th (1.00) and 10th in points per game (2.20). Sophomore Zach Smith is 4th in the CAA in face-off percentage (52W-30L - .634) and 4th in ground balls per game (5.40). Junior Ricardo Vargas is tied for 2nd in saves per game (10.00).
Pioneers in the NCAA Rankings... Through games played as of March 26th, the Pioneers were ranked 7th in the nation in face-off %. Pioneers Peter Greco and Zach Smith are also in the national rankings. Smith is 6th in face-off winning % and 14th ground balls per game. Greco's six assists against Wagner ties him for 2nd for the single game high for assists this year. The Pioneers 22 goals against the Seahawks was the 2nd highest scoring total this year, behind Delaware's 23 goals against St. Joseph's.
Freshman Dan Mesler Wins CAA Award... SHU freshman Dan Mesler scored a goal in each game as the Pioneers split road contests with Massachusetts and CAA foe Robert Morris. The freshman middie recorded the game-winner in the conference win over RMU as Sacred Heart rallied for a 10-7 triumph. He also had a goal in an 11-4 loss at UMass. For the season, Mesler has four goals.
Greco Sets School Record... Senior Peter Greco established a new Sacred Heart record for assists in a game when he passed out six in SHU's win over Wagner. The senior distributed assists to five different players as the Pioneers posted their biggest win in five years, earning him CAA Co-Player of the Week honors. Greco's six helpers breaks the record of five held by Mike Robel versus Drexel in 2002 and SHU assistant coach Chris Lukowski versus Dowling in 1996.
Strength of CAA Lacrosse... The 2007 season is in full swing with the Colonial Athletic Association once again showing it's a force across the national lacrosse landscape. The league has three teams ranked in this week's national lacrosse polls. In the USILA coaches poll, Delaware is #12, Towson is #14. In the Nike/Inside Lacrosse poll, Towson is #13 with Delaware in at #14. Hofstra is among the teams also receiving votes.
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.
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.
Pioneer History... This is the 17th season of men's lacrosse at Sacred Heart. The Pioneers post a mark of 104-119 (.466) 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. Prior to joining the league, the Pioneers spent two seasons competing in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.