In a game with playoff implications on the line, Marist men’s lacrosse (6-7, 5-3 MAAC) beat Long Island University (5-8, 4-4 MAAC) for the first time in program history by a score of 16 to 10.
Marist needed this win to stay in the mix for a home playoff game in two weeks and they accomplished their goal, never letting the Sharks back in this game after the second quarter.
Before today’s win, Marist was in fourth place out of a six-team playoff race with three teams fighting for the last spot in the playoffs. Marist kept themselves in the top four today; with a win next weekend, they will most likely have solidified themselves into an opening-round playoff game. After all the other conference games wrapped up, Marist is now in third place.
The goalie matchup in this game was a good one too, as junior goalie Sean Gillman finished with 5 saves for the Sharks, while senior goalie Daniel O’Meara of Marist finished with 15 saves in his third career start. O’Meara really settled in along with the defense, which was a big part of Marist’s victory today.
Marist got the hot start they needed from graduate student JoJo Pirreca, who netted his 31st goal of the season. Senior midfielder Sean Kelliher would also go on to score, with both goals coming on the extra man advantage to make it 2-0 Marist.
The Sharks answered with goals from redshirt freshman midfielder Austin McMahon and redshirt sophomore attackmen Mark Regan to tie the game up at 2. Senior midfielder captain James Lyons would not let the tie last long as he put Marist back in front 3-2.
This game was a game of back-and-forth lacrosse as graduate student Mark Meliski beat O’ Meara, tying the game at three. Sophomore faceoff man Dylan Bedell scored right off the ensuing faceoff, giving Marist back the 4-3 lead. Marist ended the first quarter going 2-4 on the man up.
The Sharks tied the game at four on the ensuing possession, but Marist struck yet again: junior midfielder Joshua Balcarcel scored his twelfth goal of the year, and graduate student attackmen Jamison Embury scored back-to-back goals. Lyons then scored his second of the game and senior midfielder Stephen Bickel also contributed, giving Marist the 9-4 lead.
LIU finally stopped the bleeding as senior attackmen Sean Boll and freshman faceoff man Sean Hill scored back-to-back goals, cutting the lead to 9-6 Marist. Pirreca ended the second half with a goal of his own, giving Marist the 10-6 lead at the half.
Starting the second half, LIU made a goaltending change as they went with redshirt junior Sean Richard. Despite the change, Marist got on the board first as senior attackman Kellen Pulera, who has been dealing with a foot injury all season scored, sophomore attackman Jake Deacy scored twice and freshman midfielder Vinny Butrico notched his eighth of the season all on the man up to give Marist their biggest lead, 14-6.
In the fourth quarter, Marist tried to drain as much clock as they could. Still, LIU would not go away quietly as graduate student attackmen Brad Beck scored back-to-back goals and junior midfielder Tom von Bargen also joined in, cutting the LIU deficit down to five, 14-9. Deacy would not let LIU come back anymore as he scored his third of the game off a beautiful assist from Pirreca to push the score to 15-9 Marist.
LIU cut the Marist lead back down to five again, but it wasn’t enough as Balcarcel found the net for his second of the game. Marist would then go on to seal the victory.
The faceoff matchup was tight all game as sophomore Dylan Bedell, who had been splitting time all year, combined to win 16 out of 30 for Marist. LIU has a bunch of players who slide into the faceoff X but it was freshman Sean Hill who went 14 out of 30.
Marist’s next opponent will be Virginia Military Institute next Saturday, April 22 at noon in Poughkeepsie, NY. The Red Foxes will celebrate their seniors fifteen minutes prior to the opening faceoff.
Edited by Luke Sassa
Photo Credit: Marist Athletics