April 20, 2007

SHU Travels to #18 Delaware Needing a Win to Stay in Playoff Hunt

April 20, 2007

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Sacred Heart Pioneers (2-7, 1-3 CAA) vs. #18 Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens (7-5, 2-2 CAA)

Saturday, April 21, 2007- 7:00 pm - Newark, Delaware - Rullo Stadium (2,000)

Pioneers Face #18 Delaware Saturday Night... The Sacred Heart Pioneers travel down to the University of Delaware Saturday night to take on the #18 Fightin' Blue Hens with both teams needing a win to stay in the Colonial Athletic Association playoff hunt. The top four teams in the league advance to the tournament with Drexel (4-0) and Towson (4-1) already clinching two of the spots. The Pioneers (1-3) have UD and Villanova (1-3) left on the schedule as they sit behind Hofstra (3-2) in third and the Blue Hens (2-2) in fourth. The Pioneers are looking to snap a four-game slide after losing on an overtime goal at the horn against Quinnipiac last time out. UD welcomes SHU off a 19-18 win over Villanova.

The Series... The Pioneers lead the all-time series, 3-2. Sacred Heart beat the #14 ranked Blue Hens last season, 9-8, marking the program's first-ever win over a ranked team. SHU took the first-ever meeting in 2002, 17-9, the Pioneer's first season in the CAA. The Pioneers won a 10-9 overtime decision the following season at Delaware. UD won the 2004 meeting 13-8 in Fairfield and the 2005 meeting 15-11 at home.

Up Next... The Pioneers close out the non-conference portion of their schedule on Wednesday, April 25th when they travel to the University of Hartford for a 6:00 pm start.

Last Meeting with Delaware... In a game that started in a steady, cold rain and ended with snow falling, Sacred Heat senior Kiel Adams scored with 22 seconds on the clock to complete a fourth quarter comeback and lift the Pioneers to a 9-8 win over the #14 ranked Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens. The Pioneers upset victory was their first over a ranked team in program history. SHU headed into the fourth quarter chasing a three-goal Delaware lead and shut the Blue Hen offense down over the final 15 minutes. The Pioneer rally started at the 8:00 minute mark and continued until Adams buried a feed from fellow senior Matt Robideau with 22 ticks left to vault the Pioneers to the win. With the game tied 3-3 at the half, the Blue Hens owned the third quarter. Trailing 4-3, Delaware rattled off three-straight to jump back in front, 6-4 with 1:50 to go. Leading 8-5 to start the fourth, SHU tied the game at 3:17 to set up Adam's heroics. Down 9-8 with 22 seconds to go, the Blue Hens sent Alex Smith into the face-off circle for the final draw. Smith dominated all game, winning 18-20 to that point but it was SHU's Joe Cavagnaro who got the final draw as he scooped up the grounder and the Pioneers killed of the remaining seconds for the win.

Greco Closing in on 100 Career Points... Senior attackman Peter Greco heads into this Saturday's game at Delaware with 91 career points in his four year career. Greco has 52 career goals and 39 career assists, ranking 15th and 9th on the all-time list. His 90 points currently ranks 12th. He is looking to become the 12th player in school history to score 100 career points.

CAA Rankings... The Sacred Heart offense is ranked 2nd in the Colonial Athletic Association in assists per game (5.11), 4th in points per game (13.78) and 5th in goals per game (8.67). The Pioneers rank 2nd in shot percentage (.274), 4th in man-up goals (13), 2nd in ground balls per game (32.00), 1st in saves per game (11.56) and 4th in face-off % (.553). Sophomore Bobby Karl, who has six assists in his last three games, is 2nd in the CAA in assists per game at 1.33. Senior Peter Greco is 6th in the league in points per game (2.33), tied for 6th 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 (10.78) and is 5th in save percentage (.533) and 6th in goals against average (10.55). Sophomore Zack Smith is 4th in the CAA in face-off percentage (.577) and 3rd in ground balls per game (4.89).

Pioneers in the NCAA Rankings... Through games played as of April 15th, the Pioneers were ranked 16th in the nation in face-off %. Pioneers Peter Greco and Zach Smith are also in the national rankings. Smith is 17th in face-off winning % and 19th 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. Syracuse matched the 22 goals against Rutgers.

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 four teams ranked in this week's national lacrosse polls. In this week's USILA coaches poll, Drexel is ranked 15th, Towson 17th, Delaware 18th and Hofstra 19th. In the NIKE media poll, the Dragons are 15th, the Tigers are 17th, the Fightin' Blue Hens 18th and Pride 20th. 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 104-123 (.458) 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.