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FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Owners of the longest active win streak in the conference, the NEC's hottest team in the Sacred Heart men's lacrosse team heads into league play at home this Saturday against preseason favorite Robert Morris. Opening faceoff is set for Noon on Saturday from Campus Field. The game can be seen for free on NEC Front Row.
A disappointing February that saw SHU go 1-3, including an 0-2 start at home, is deep in the past as the Pioneers have won three straight road games to start the month of March. The season started with a close 13-10 loss at nationally-ranked Georgetown before the first win of the season came in a 18-11 offensive shootout against Furman. After a pair of disappointing home losses to Boston Univ. (16-11) and Fairfield (12-11), the Pioneers found their form away from Campus Field with an emphatic 17-16 road win over Providence that saw SHU erase a 10-5 halftime deficit. The strong run of play continued with a 12-11 overtime win at America East power Stony Brook followed by the most-recent come-from-behind 16-12 road win at Hartford last Saturday.
SUCCESS AWAY FROM HOME
With half of the regular season completed, the Pioneers are well on their way to putting together one of the greatest single-season road records in program history. Winners of three straight away from Campus Field, the Pioneers' three road wins is already tied for the third-most wins away from home in a single-season in the program's Div. I history (since 2000). SHU's highest single-season road win total is four (accomplished twice, most-recently in 2017) and the Pioneers have at least three away games remaining in their 2019 slate. The single-season program record for road wins came in the Pioneers' 13-win 1996 season in which SHU won seven away games.
Since joining the Northeast Conference in 2010, the Pioneers have advanced to the NEC Tournament four times in nine seasons including four of the last six seasons and the last two straight. Over the last two seasons, the Pioneers are 7-5 in NEC play while owning a combined mark of 4-2 in conference games played at Campus Field. Robert Morris has been a thorn in the side of the Pioneers of-late as RMU has won the last three meeting over SHU including a 12-8 decision in Moon Township last season.
The Pioneers were picked to finish third in the 2019 Northeast Conference Preseason Poll, as announced in late January, which stands as the highest preseason ranking SHU has ever garnered since the league's founding in 2010. Owning a mark of 3-3 in the NEC last season, the Pioneers earned a spot in the NEC Tournament in back-to-back seasons for the first time and fourth time overall. The seven-win season also tied for the third-most wins for the Pioneers since SHU joined the Division I level in 2000.
ALL OFFENSE, ALL DAY LONG
Through seven games in 2019, the Pioneers have racked up 13.57 goals per game to give SHU the 12th ranked scoring offense in the nation and second-best in the NEC. SHU has scored double-digit goals in every game this season, including an impressive 15.75 goals per game in the four wins in 2019. Leading the charge offensively is the dynamic senior tandem of Joe Saggese (36P, 21G, 15A) and Max Tuttle (30P, 21G, 9A) who combine for 66 points (9.43 per game) and both rank Top 20 in the nation in goals per game through seven games.
RECORD-SETTING MLL DRAFT
Saturday's 2019 Major League Lacrosse Draft was a record-breaking night for the SHU men's lacrosse program as three current players – Max Tuttle (1st round, sixth overall, Denver Outlaws), Joe Saggese (5th round, 44th overall, Dallas Rattlers) and Landon Kramer (7th round, 62nd overall, Dallas Rattlers) – were drafted into the MLL. Prior to this year's draft, SHU had three total players drafted into the MLL in the program's history (Brian Masi 2017, Tim Katz 2010 and Tony Tanzi 2008) and doubled that total in one MLL draft alone. Going in the first round (sixth overall) to the reigning MLL Champion Denver Outlaws, Tuttle became the program's first-ever first round pick and the highest overall pick in program history.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: MAX TUTTLE
2019 Stats: 30 points, 21 goals, 9 assists, 29 ground balls, four caused turnovers
Career Stats: 170 points, 116 goals, 54 assists, 110 ground balls, 18 caused turnovers
One of the greatest players in program history, Tuttle has already become the program's Div. I leader in career points (170) while ranking second in goals (116) and fourth in assists (54). He is just four points away from becoming the program's all-time leader in career points and is 14 goals away from the all-time goal record at SHU. After his six-point outburst (five goals, one assist) in Saturday's win over Hartford, Tuttle has 10 goals over the last two games to help him earn NEC Player of the Week honors on Monday. Owner of the longest active goal scoring streak in the nation, Tuttle has scored in 32 straight games dating back to March 11, 2017 (89 goals scored during the streak).
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: JOE SAGGESE
2019 Stats: 36 points, 21 goals, 15 assists, 21 ground balls, three caused turnovers
Career Stats: 167 points, 103 goals, 64 assists, 78 ground balls, 10 caused turnovers
Sitting just three career points behind Tuttle's SHU Div. I record, Saggese is one of the top offensive players in program history, ranking third all-time in SHU program history with 167 career points while also sitting fifth all-time in goals (103) and third in assists (64). Saggese scored five goals in Saturday's 16-12 win at Hartford to become the fifth Pioneer in program history to score 100 career goals. Off to a fast start in 2019, Saggese leads the team with 36 points this season and has gone for at least five points in five-of-seven games in 2019. He leads the NEC in points (36) and goals (21) while ranking second in assists (15). Owner of the fourth-longest active point streak in the nation (38 games), his 5.20 point per game sit second in the NEC and 14th in the nation while he is currently on-pace to break the single-season points record at SHU.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: LANDON KRAMER
2019 Stats: 17 caused turnovers, 14 ground balls, two points (one goal, one assist)
Career Stats: 30 caused turnovers, 40 ground balls, 16 points (five goals, 11 assists)
Versatility has been key throughout Kramer's four-year career as a Pioneer, as he shifted from attacking midfield to a more defensive position late in his SHU career. Through six appearances in 2019, Kramer has a team-leading 17 caused turnovers to go along with 14 ground balls. His 17 caused turnovers are the fourth-highest total of any player in the country while he ranks third in the country in caused turnovers per game (2.83). He set a career-high with six caused turnovers against Fairfield (2/23) and most-recently tallied five caused turnovers in a road win over Hartford (3/9).