Pioneers Head to Ranked Drexel for CAA Tilt

Pioneers Head to Ranked Drexel for CAA Tilt

April 18, 2008

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Sacred Heart Pioneers (6-4, 1-3 CAA) vs. #14/#18 Drexel Dragons (10-3, 3-1 CAA)

Game #11 - Saturday, April 19, 2008- 3:00 pm - Philadelphia, Pa. - Vidas Field

Pioneers Head to Ranked Drexel for CAA Tilt... Sacred Heart will hit the road Saturday afternoon to face the #14 ranked Drexel Dragons needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Pioneers have two games left on the Colonial Athletic Association schedule starting Saturday and need to win both and get some help to qualify for the four-team tournament field. SHU is looking to snap out of an offensive funk that has seen them out scored 37-8 over the last two games. The Dragons, at 3-1, can clinch a playoff spot with a win on Saturday. Drexel is coming off a 10-9 win on the road at Towson last week.

The Series... Drexel leads the all-time series, 5-1. The Dragons have won three-straight thanks to a 10-3 win in Fairfield last season. Drexel took the first two meetings, 14-7 in 2002 and 9-8 in 2003. Sacred Heart's lone win in the series took place in 2004 at Drexel.

Up Next... SHU will close out the regular season next Saturday, April 26th when they host the Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens on "Senior Day".

Last Meeting with Drexel... Drexel's Colin Ambler and Andrew Chapman scored three goals apiece as the Dragons used a six goal fourth quarter to hand the Sacred Heart Pioneers a 10-3 loss last March. The Pioneers dominated the first quarter of play statistically but managed just one goal in the first 15 minutes of action. The Pioneers out shot the Dragons 11-4, forced seven turnovers and picked up 10 ground balls but junior Tony Tanzi's unassisted marker at 2:09 would be the only scoring for either team in the first. Drexel blew the game open with a six-goal fourth quarter while out shooting SHU 44-16 over the second, third and fourth quarters. The Dragons also won 13 of 15 face-offs during their three quarter run. The Dragons won the ground ball battle with a 42-22 advantage on the day. Ambler added two assists to his three goals while Mike Filippone finished with two scores and two assists. The Pioneers got a career-high 15 saves from junior goalkeeper Ricardo Vargas in the loss.

CAA Struggles... Since their 15-11 win over Robert Morris in the Colonial Athletic Association opener, the Pioneers have lost three-straight in league play and has seen their offense struggle in the process. The Pioneers are averaging just 4.67 goals over their last three CAA games and have been outscored 44-14 combined in their losses to Villanova, Hofstra and Towson, 37-8 over the last two. SHU has also been out shot 146-46 in the losses. The Pioneers have won started off well, with a 5-4 edge in the first quarter but have seen that reversed to the tune of 40-9 over the last three.

Towson Uses 9-goal Run to Beat SHU... The Pioneers struck first in last week's loss to Towson, taking a 1-0 lead but the Tigers took control and put the game out of reach with an 9-0 run that started 31 seconds left in the first quarter and ended at 4:40 of the second. After matching Towson shot for shot in the first (8-8), the Pioneers were out shot on the day 42-24 the rest of the way.

Katz Streak Snapped... Sophomore Timmy Katz saw his streak of 10-straight games with a point snapped in the Towson loss. Katz has at least a goal in the first nine games of the year and managed just an assist in game 10 at Hofstra but was held scoreless on just two shots against the Tigers. He has 20 goals and 12 assists on the year.

Connecticut Comebacks... The Pioneers are 2-4 this season when trailing at the half but both wins have come with SHU chasing five goals to start the second half against a pair of fellow Nutmeg State schools. Sacred Heart found themselves in a 8-3 hole earlier in the season against Hartford and battled their way back to an 11-10 win thanks to sophomore Timmy Katz, who scored five of his career-high six goals in the second half. The Pioneers found themselves in the exact same position against Quinnipiac. SHU, down 8-3 at the break, rattled off eight-straight to start the second half en route to a 14-10 win. Junior Dan Casciano lead this SHU comeback, matching Katz's six goal effort with five coming the second half in the comeback.

Penalties Costly vs. Hofstra... The Pioneers took a season-high 10 penalties in their loss at Hofstra and the Pride made SHU pay for their time in the box. Hofstra scored eight time man-up and were seven-of-six with the extra man in the second half. The two teams were tied 2-2 after one when Hofstra kicked it into high gear outscoring SHU 18-1 over the final 45 minutes, eight of which coming man-up.

Streak vs. UMass Snapped... The Pioneers have faced regional power Massachusetts every season since 2003 but had lost five-straight heading into this year' meeting. Sacred Heart put an end to that streak with a convincing 9-7 win over the Minutemen. SHU got two goals and two assists from Timmy Katz and a stellar 13 save performance in goal by Ricardo Vargas to lead the way.

Pioneers in the NCAA Rankings (through 4/13)... Timmy Katz ranks 27th in the Nation in points per game and 33rd in goals per game. Katz and Dan Casciano's six goal afternoons against Hartford and Quinnipiac is tied for the third highest number of goals scored in a game this year. Ricardo Vargas ranks 46th in goals against average and save percentage. The Pioneers own the 17th ranked scoring offense.

McGlensey Recognized by Inside Lacrosse... Senior defenseman Brett McGlensey was named to the Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Yearbook Preseason All-Colonial Athletic Association team in a vote by the league's head coaches. He also garnered Preseason All-American Honorable Mention honors, announced in December.

Tanzi Earns Preseason All-New England Honors... Two-time team captain Tony Tanzi was named to the All-New England Preseason team by the region's 12 head coaches. The senior midfielder is SHU's current leading active scorer with 40 career goals and 17 career assists.

Preseason CAA Poll... The Drexel Dragons just edged out Towson University for the top-spot in this season's preseason poll. Both teams received three first place votes with the Dragon earning the top-sport with 33 points to Towson's 32. The remaining first-place vote went to defending champion Delaware, who advanced to their first-ever NCAA Final Four last season. Hofstra was picked fourth, Villanova fifth, Sacred Heart sixth and Robert Morris seventh.

Pioneer History... This is the 18th season of men's lacrosse at Sacred Heart. The Pioneers post a mark of 112-128 (.469) in their history. Head Coach Tom Mariano is the program's longest tenured coach in his 12th season at the helm. SHU begins it's seventh season of competition in the Colonial Athletic Association, one of the premier lacrosse leagues in the nation. Prior to joining the league, the Pioneers spent two seasons competing in the MAAC.