April 27, 2007

Pioneer Close Season Hosting Villanova

April 27, 2007

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Sacred Heart Pioneers (3-8, 1-4 CAA) vs. Villanova Wildcats (7-6, 2-3 CAA)

Saturday, April 28, 2007- 1:00 pm - Fairfield, Connecticut - Campus Field (4,000)

Pioneer Close Season Hosting Villanova... The Sacred Heart Pioneers close out 2007 hosting Villanova in a battle of Colonial Athletic Association rivals. The Pioneers snapped a five-game losing streak on Wednesday night beating Hartford, 12-10. Sophomore Zach Smith set a new NCAA face-off record by winning 25-of-25 while picking up 18 ground balls. Villanova comes in off a 16-5 win over Robert Morris last time out and need a win to stay in the hunt for the last playoff spot. The Wildcats are a game behind Hofstra in the standing and can earn the last CAA Tournament spot with a win coupled with a Pride loss to Drexel.

The Series... Villanova leads the all-time series, 8-0. The Wildcats and Pioneers have met each season dating back to 1999 with Villanova winning each meeting. The Wildcats posted a 15-7 win over SHU at home last season.

"Senior Day"... Sacred Heart will honor its nine graduating seniors before Saturday's game. Seniors Scott Alexander, Bryan Basile, Joe Camillo, Joe Cavagnaro, Michael Collins, Brendan McAuley, Peter Greco, Casey Kirch and Rory Morse will make their final appearance in the Red & White against Villanova.

Last Meeting with Villanova... Villanova's Andy German led the Wildcats with five goals en route to a 15-7 win over the visiting Sacred Heart Pioneers on April 1st last season. German recorded the first four goals of the game while the Wildcats ran out to a 5-0 lead before the Pioneers could finally breakthrough offensively with just 40 seconds left in the first half. The Pioneers got the second half started right with a pair of unassisted goals from senior Matthew Robideau and freshman Bobby Karl to pull within two, 5-3, at 9:27 in the third. German answered with his fifth goal of the game at 7:42 but SHU junior Peter Greco kept the Pioneers in it with a marker to again cut Sacred Heart's deficit to two goals, 6-4, with 5:28 left. But that would be the last serious threat the Pioneers mounted as Villanova scored the next four straight goals, including two just 10 second apart in the first minute of the fourth quarter to go up 10-4. Sacred Heart goalie Jim Millhausen made 22 saves for the Pioneers, a career-high.

Smith Sets NCAA Record... In Wednesday night's win at Hartford, sophomore Zach Smith won all 25 of the face-offs taken on the night to set a new NCAA record. Smith was perfect on the game for the Pioneers going 25 of 25 in the face-off column, setting an NCAA Division I record in the process. Smith became the seventh player in NCAA history to finish a game with a perfect face-off percentage (1.000) in a minimum of 10 attempts. Smith's feat moves to the top of the list for best perfect performance however, besting Alex Garn of Army who won 20-of-20 against Lafayette in 2001. In addition to his perfect night, Smith picked up 18 ground balls in the win.

CAA Rankings... The Sacred Heart offense is ranked 2nd in the Colonial Athletic Association in assists per game (5.00), 5th in points per game (14.00) and 5th in goals per game (9.00). The Pioneers rank 1st in shot percentage (.282) and in man-up goals (19), 2nd in ground balls per game (33.64), 1st in saves per game (11.55) and 4th in face-off % (.565). Sophomore Bobby Karl is 3rd in the CAA in assists per game at 1.27. Senior Peter Greco is 10th in the league in points per game (2.18). Freshman Evan Morgan is tied for 6th in assists per game at 1.00. Junior Ricardo Vargas is the league leader in saves per game (10.91) and is 5th in save percentage (.529) and 6th in goals against average (10.64). Sophomore Zack Smith is 4th in the CAA in face-off percentage (.607) and 3rd in ground balls per game (5.73).

Pioneers in the NCAA Rankings... Through games played as of April 22nd, Pioneers Peter Greco and Zach Smith are in the national rankings. Smith is 17th in face-off winning % and 25th 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, Towson is ranked 15th, Drexel is 17th, Delaware is 18th and Hofstra is 20th. In the NIKE media poll, the Tigers are 15th, the Dragons are 18th and the Blue Hens are 19th. The Pride are among teams 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 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 105-124 (.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.