April 10, 2007

SHU and Hofstra Face-off in Key CAA Battle

April 10, 2007

Sacred Heart vs. Hofstra Game Notes in PDF Format
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Sacred Heart Pioneers (2-5, 1-2 CAA) vs. Hofstra Pride (3-5, 1-2 CAA)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007- 3:30 pm - Fairfield, Connecticut - Campus Field (4,000)

SHU and Hofstra Face-off in Key CAA Battle... The Pioneers welcome the Hofstra Pride to Campus Field Wednesday afternoon as both teams look to pick up an important Colonial Athletic Association win in the heart of the league schedule. Both the Pioneers and Pride sit at 1-2 in the league with two conference games to play after Wednesday's match-up. SHU has lost two-straight since beating Robert Morris while Hofstra is coming in off a 14-5 win over the Colonials last time out.

The Series... Hofstra leads the all-time series, 5-0. The Pride posted a 19-8 win at home last season on their way to their first CAA title. The Pioneers and Pride met for the first time during the 2002 season, SHU's first in the CAA. Hofstra posted a 19-5 win at home that year and posted 12-11 win in Hempstead in 2004. The Pride have earned wins of 9-6 (2003) and 14-10 (2005) in Fairfield.

Up Next... Sacred Heart returns to the field on Saturday afternoon heading to Hamden to face-off with Quinnipiac. The Pioneers will meet the Bobcats for the first time since the 2001 season. SHU leads the all-time series, 8-3.

Last Meeting with Hofstra... The #2 ranked Hofstra Pride got a combined 13 points from Athan Iannucci and Tom Dooley to come away with a 19-8 win over visiting Sacred Heart on April 5th last season. The Pride broke open a 5-5 game with nine minutes to go in the second quarter, scoring nine-straight into the third to take command en route to their 8th-straight win. There was a flurry of activity in the opening minutes of the game with Hofstra grabbing a 2-1 lead after just a minute and a half of action. SHU stayed in the game until the nine minute mark of the second quarter, tying the game at 5-5 at 9:50. From there, the Pioneer offense was held in check, not managing a shot over the last nine minutes of the half. Hofstra on the other hand, saw their offense explode, rattling off five-straight scores , started with a pair of man-up goals from Iannucci and Unterstein to take a 10-5 lead into the break. The Pride dominated the quarter offensively, out shooting SHU 20-9 and forcing 10 turnovers. The third quarter brought more of the same for the Pride as they rattled off another four-straight on a pair of markers each from Dooley and Iannucci. A pair of SHU goals at the end of the quarter pulled them to within 14-7 but the Pride ended any hopes of a comeback by burying two scores within 13 seconds of the fourth quarter getting underway. Hofstra tacked on five more in the fourth to produce the final 19-8 score. SHU's Billy Fuchs finished with three goals while Matt Robideau had a goal and two assists. Senior Thomas Hind made 12 saves in goal.

CAA Rankings... The Sacred Heart offense is ranked 2nd in the Colonial Athletic Association in assists per game (5.29), 3rd in points per game (14.00) and 4th in goals per game (8.71). The Pioneers rank 2nd in shot percentage (.262), 3rd in man-up goals (11), 3rd in ground balls per game (31.86), 1st in saves per game (11.57) and 4th in face-off % (.548). Sophomore Bobby Karl, who had three assists at Towson, leads the CAA in assists per game at 1.29. Senior Peter Greco and is 4th in the league in points per game (2.43), tied for 4th in assists per game at 1.00 per game. Freshman Evan Morgan is tied with Greco in assists per game at 1.00. Junior Ricardo Vargas is the league leader in saves per game (10.57) and is 6th in save percentage (.532) and goals against average (10.86). Sophomore Zack Smith is 5th in the CAA in face-off percentage (.575) and 5th in ground balls per game (4.86).

Pioneers in the NCAA Rankings... Through games played as of April 1st, the Pioneers were ranked 15th in the nation in face-off %. Pioneers Peter Greco and Zach Smith are also in the national rankings. Smith is 16th in face-off winning % (.575) and 20th ground balls per game (4.86). 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.

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 this week's USILA coaches poll, Towson is ranked 14th, Drexel is 16th and Delaware is 17th.

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 104-121 (.462) 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.