Joe Saggese Named NEC Offensive Player of the Year; Five Men’s Lacrosse Players Earn All-NEC Honors

Joe Saggese Named NEC Offensive Player of the Year; Five Men’s Lacrosse Players Earn All-NEC Honors

2019 All-NEC Men's Lacrosse List

SOMERSET, N.J. – Sacred Heart men's lacrosse attack Joe Saggese continued his record-setting campaign by being named the Northeast Conference Offensive Player of the Year. The redshirt senior also headlined a crop of five Pioneers who earned All-NEC honors, including a program record four First Team honorees.

In addition to his Offensive Player of the Year nod, Saggese earned First Team All-NEC laurels. Joining Saggese on the All-NEC First Team is senior midfielder Max Tuttle, sophomore midfielder Logan Liljeberg and senior defender Joseph Cipoletti while junior defender Austin Pavone was named to the All-NEC Second Team.

Saggese becomes just the second player in program history to earn an Offensive Player of the Year award, a year after Tuttle became the first Pioneer to win the award. A record-breaking 2019 season for Saggese saw him break multiple program records as he is SHU's all-time leader in career points (201) and holds the SHU Div. I single-season points record (70) through 14 regular season games. Saggese leads the team and NEC with 70 points while sitting second in goals (42) and tied for seconds in assists (28). Owner of the fourth-longest active point streak in the nation (45 games), his 5.00 points per game average sits first in the NEC and ninth in the nation. Saggese has gone for at least five points in 8-of-14 games in 2019 and recently tied the SHU Div. I single-game record with a career-high eight points (three goals, five assists) in a home win over Binghamton. Saggese enters the NEC Tournament just eight points away from matching the SHU all-time single-season point record (Dave Root's 78 in 1995).

Tuttle is in the midst of another incredible campaign as the senior midfielder earns an All-NEC First Team nod for the second straight season while also becoming the first player in program history to earn four All-Conference honors throughout his career (2019 NEC First Team, 2018 NEC First Team, 2017 NEC Second Team, 2016 NEC All-Rookie). Tuttle made history in the Pioneers' regular season finale, passing Stephen Grabow '03 for the all-time SHU goals record with 131. Earlier this season, Tuttle became the program's first-ever All-American with his Inside Lacrosse Midseason Second Team nod. He has racked up 53 points (36 goals, 17 assists) to go along with 53 ground balls in 14 games this season and has 193 points (131 goals, 62 assists) in his 60-game career. Tuttle became the first player in program history taken in the MLL Draft (sixth overall) and recently doubled-up after being taken 15th overall in the inaugural Premier Lacrosse League College Draft.

Perhaps the best all-around player on the team, Liljeberg has been involved all over the field for the Pioneers this season. Through the regular season, he ranks third on the team in points (40), fourth in goals (20), second in assists (20), fourth in ground balls (43) and tied for fourth in caused turnovers (13). He is one of just two players in the nation, joining Robert Morris' Tyson Gibson, with at least 20 goals, 20 assists and 40 ground balls this season. Liljeberg has already establiehd new single-season career-highs in every statistical category and is coming off a career-high six-point outburst at Wagner. Through two seasons, Liljeberg is riding a 29-game point streak as he has recorded at least one point in all 29 SHU games since 2018. In addition, Liljeberg's 29-game point streak is teid for the 18th-longest active streak in the nation and fourth-longest among sophomores.

Spearheading the Pioneers' defensive efforts all season has been Cipoletti, who earned his first career All-NEC honor as he is in the midst of a breakout senior campaign. A dynamic defender, Cipoletti's playing time has increased incrementally throughout his four-year career and he's saving his best for last as he leads the team in ground balls (61) and ground balls per game (5.08, 39th in the nation) and is excelling with 3.17 caused turnovers per game which ranks second in the nation. Cipoletti's 38 caused turnovers in 12 games this season leads the team and NEC, giving the Pioneers two players ranked Top 10 in the country in that stat category. His 69 career caused turnovers rank fourth all-time at SHU and his 38 this season is already the second-highest single-season total in program history.

One of only three players on the team to start all 14 games in 2019, Pavone was recognized by the NEC with a Second Team selection. Named All-Conference for the first time in his career, the junior defender has racked up 15 ground balls to go along with 11 caused turnovers. A steady contributor, Pavone has started 27 consecutive games for the Pioneers dating back to the start of his 2018 sophomore season. His play has helped lead to a total turnaround for the SHU defense of-late as the Pioneers haven't allowed an opponent to score double digits in four straight games.

The Pioneers will take on second-seeded Hobart in the semifinal round of the NEC Tournament on Thursday night. Opening faceoff is set for 8:30 PM from the Waldron Family Stadium in Emmitsburg, Maryland on the campus of top-seeded Mount St. Mary's.