Siena & UAlbany Men’s Lacrosse Come Up Short
As the end of last week made the turn into the weekend, both UAlbany and Siena were in prime positions to earn berths in the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament. The Great Danes dominated UMBC on Wednesday with a 19-8 blowout victory, setting up a contest at Stony Brook for the America East Title. And on the other hand, the Saints won an 11-9 slugfest against Marist and advanced to their fourth consecutive MAAC Championship Game. But within twenty-four hours, all of those “high hopes” turned into sheer disappointment.
On late Saturday afternoon, Jeff Tundo scored four goals and added an assist to lead Stony Brook to a 14-8 win over UAlbany in the America East Championship at LaValle Stadium, the same field where the UAlbany was knocked out in the First Round of the NCAA FBS Football Tournament. America East Player of the Year Joe Resetarits was held to one goal and one assist by the Seawolves, but ends his career scoring a goal in 49 consecutive games.
The Great Danes played a tough first half against the Seawolves, going into the break with a 5-5 tie. Stony Brook would assume control of the game, scoring seven unanswered goals to start the second half. That would prove to be more than enough to put the game away, as UAlbany would never get closer than within five goals.
The stats were fairly even across the board, with Stony Brook only out-shooting UAlbany by one, 35-34, and winning one more face-off. The Seawolves did hold the advantage in groundballs (36-26), and the championship’s Most Outstanding Player, Sean Brady, made 11 saves in a complete-game performance.
“I thought we played hard,” said UAlbany head coach Scott Marr, who brought the Great Danes back to the conference tournament after missing the playoffs a year ago. “We had a lot of opportunities in the third, but we didn’t take advantage of them, and Stony Brook did. I give our kids all the credit in the world.”
UAlbany finishes the season with a 5-11 record overall. Stony Brook heads into the NCAA Tournament at 7-9, becoming just the third team to reach the tournament with a record under .500.
Then on Sunday afternoon, MAAC Rookie of the Year Tim Edwards scored with 1:46 remaining, sending Canisius to a dramatic 10-9 win in the MAAC Championship Game over regular season champion Siena. Canisius scored the game’s final four goals and held the Saints scoreless for the last 32 minutes. Canisius wins its second MAAC Championship (first since 2008) and earns the conference’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament.
The loss ends the careers of a phenomenal Siena senior class. The Class of 2012 had a tremendous ride, playing in four MAAC Title Games and won the conference championship twice. The seniors graduate as the winningest class in program history with 48 victories to their names and played a huge role in putting Siena Lacrosse on the national map.
But a career full of accomplishments serves as little solace in the interim as Siena fell for the second time in three years in the MAAC Championship game, with both games being decided in excruciating fashion in the final two minutes.
Early on Siena’s high powered offense, which entered the day ranked fourth nationally in scoring, looked like it may break the MAAC Title Game record for goals scored. The Saints scored five times in a wild first period and led 9-6 at the half in a game that looked like it would finish in a shootout. Winners of 27 in a row when leading at the half, Siena seemed to be in driver’s seat heading into the final stanza.
But Canisius’ defense, led by senior goalie Sean Callahan, stepped up in a big way in the second half. Callahan stopped all five shots he faced in the final half as the Griffs slowly chipped away at the deficit. Canisius scored just once in the third period themselves, but came through when they needed to in crunch time. Jimmy Haney tied things up with just 3:29 remaining, preceding the decisive tally from Edwards in the closing minutes.
Senior captain Chris D’Alberti led the Saints with a career-high tying five points including a hat trick, while Danny Martinsen added three goals of his own. The duo along with goalie Tom Morr was later named to the All-MAAC Tournament Team.
Canisius held the nation’s second leading scorer and MAAC Offensive Player of the Year Bryan Neufeld to just two assists – his only points of the tournament. Despite being held without a goal in back-to-back games for the first time in his career, Neufeld ends his illustrious run at Siena as the program’s second all-time leading scorer with 240 points.
Prior to April 28th, Canisius had not won in Poughkeepsie in 20 years. About a week and three wins later, they are headed to the NCAA Tournament.