Marist men’s lacrosse made the long road trip to Buffalo and defeated the Canisius Golden Griffins by a score of 13-7 in a game with serious postseason implications on Saturday afternoon.
With the Red Foxes (6-7, 4-1 MAAC) winning today, they kept pace with St. Bonaventure for first in the MAAC standings due to a Bonnies win against Quinnipiac today. Marist seems to be peaking at the right time, as it collected its third consecutive victory and is only a game away from getting back to .500 on the season.
Coming into the game it was expected that there would be a battle in net, with both teams’ netminders being in the top 25 in saves per game throughout Division 1. Marist senior goalie Anthony Novellano entered the afternoon sixth nationally with 14.08 stops per game. On the other side of the field, Golden Griffins graduate student goalkeeper Matt Vavonese ranked 22nd nationally with 12.67 saves per game.
You cannot say enough about the play from Novellano as he played a major part in shutting down the Canisius offense. Between Novellano and the pressure of the Marist defense, Canisius never stood a chance of getting anything going. Novellano garnered 11 saves for his team and Vavonese, who was getting shot on all day, obtained 18 saves today.
The game of lacrosse starts at the faceoff “X” and is one of the most important parts of the game. Two freshmen squared off at the X today. Marist Freshman Dylan Bedell and Golden Griffins Freshman Johnny Richiusia, who came in with a win percentage of .500.
Richiusia actually got the better of Bedell, winning 12 of 21 faceoffs on Saturday, but the Marist defense more than made up for the lack of control at the X.
Marist looked to start hot against Canisius, and they did just that off a goal from sophomore midfielder Joshua Balcarcel to give the Red Foxes the early 1-0 lead. Marist would not let Canisius take their momentum away from them as junior attackman Kellen Pulera scored off an assist from Senior Midfielder Jason Intermesoli to give Marist the early two-goal lead, ending the low scoring first quarter.
Marist opened up the second quarter with a goal from the senior midfielder James Lyons, as they kept their foot on the gas extending the lead to 3-0 for the Red Foxes. The defense turned into offense for Marist. A save from Novellano on the defensive end turned into a goal from the senior attackman JoJo Pirreca, his 24th of the year, extending the Marist lead to 4-0.
Marist would not give Canisius a single breath of hope as Intermesoli would score on the extra-man opportunity, ripping it past the Golden Griffins goaltender. 15 seconds later Pulera would score two back-to-back goals, his 27th and 28th of the season, playing in front of his hometown crowd.
It would take Canisius almost two full quarters to beat Novellano as senior attackman Jacob Buck, redshirt freshman Erik Allen and Junior Midfielder Kyle Brunsch scored three goals in a row for the home team, shrinking the lead to five for Marist, 7-3 heading into halftime.
Marist looked to come out and gain the momentum back and they did just that as Pirreca would score his 2nd of the game and 25th, senior midfielder Hunter Embury and Intermesoli scored, extending the lead for Marist. The Red Foxes would not stop there as Lyons scored his second of the game and his 18th goal of the season, giving Marist the 11-3 lead.
Canisius would try to claw their way back into the game with goals from Buck and Sophomore attackman Keegan Kozack narrowing the Marist lead to 11-5, ending the third-quarter scoring.
To open up the fourth quarter, Canisius scored a goal from Sophomore Defensemen Jacob Pahnke narrowing the lead to 11-6 for Marist. Lyons and Embury scored two garbage-time goals for Marist extending the lead to 13-7 Marist.
Marist is back in action next Saturday, April 30, as they take on Monmouth on senior day in Poughkeepsie. Faceoff is scheduled for noon.
Edited by Jonathan Kinane
Photo from Marist Athletics