MAAC Semifinals: How Marist Can Conquer The Mount

Marist men’s lacrosse is coming off a historic offensive performance in a game where it scored 29 goals in a win over Quinnipiac on Saturday night. It was a new program record and the most in Division I in 29 years, in turn securing their place in the MAAC semifinals at Manhattan College on Thursday. 

Head coach Keegan Wilkinson’s squad now has bigger hills to climb, with their next opponent being a conference newcomer in Mount St. Mary’s. The Mount earned the No. 2 seed in the tournament after going 7-2 in conference play. Marist fell to the Mount by a score of 12-9 on Apr. 8 on what was their last loss of the regular season.

The last time Marist played the Mount it was a close game, coming down to the wire in the second half. The big problem was the dull start for the Red Fox offense; Marist scored just one goal in the first half of the game. The Red Foxes were led by graduate student attackmen JoJo Pirreca, who had four points on three goals and an assist in the last matchup and helped keep Marist in the game in the second half. Marist held their own against the Mount, but just fell short.

The Faceoff

The Mount is led by MAAC faceoff specialist of the year Conor Beals, who was a madman for his team this season, winning 64 percent of his faceoff attempts. It will be up to the wings to help sophomore Dylan Bedell win Marist possessions. 

Bedell is coming off the best game of his career on Saturday, where he won 30 out of 48 faceoffs. It will be a tall task for Bedell this weekend, but the good news is that he went 9-for-14 against Beals in the first meeting with the Mount. Marist’s problem was limiting their turnovers and capitalizing on opposing giveaways.

The Mount and Marist rank first and second in the MAAC in ground balls per game. The battle for picking up loose balls and sloppy possessions should dictate the matchup in the long run Thursday night.

Can Marist Repeat Its Success?

Taking a look back at the last game against Quinnipiac, it will be hard–nearly impossible– to repeat the offense they had over the weekend. Marist had 10 different goal scorers on Saturday; every attacker and midfielder on the roster had a valuable impact on Marist’s most meaningful win of the season thus far.

Graduate student attackmen Jamison Embury and Pirreca both had eight points each with sophomore attackmen Jake Deacy right behind adding six points, combining for a whopping 22 points on the day. Marist’s top scorers will look to ride the wave of momentum in the upcoming matchup.

The Mount’s defense has been stellar this season, as they have had at least 10 or more forced turnovers seven times this season. Mount St. Mary’s had four defensive players receive all-MAAC honors this season. 

Between the Pipes

The goalie matchup looks a bit different in this game than the previous playoff matchup. In the cage is senior goalie Dan O’ Meara who has been playing well in his past four starts in goal. Despite letting in 19 goals against the Bobcats, he made timely saves when the game was still within striking distance for Quinnipiac. 

On the other side of the field is junior goalie Griffin McGinley, who has a 46 percent save percentage on the season. McGinley has a stellar defense in front of him that doesn’t allow many shots (according to MAAC statistics, he is among goalies that see the least amount of shots per game). The key for the Red Foxes is to test him early and often.

Marist will look to continue their success against Mount St. Mary’s on Thursday, May 4 at Gaelic Park at 3 p.m. The winner advances to the championship game to face either Manhattan or Siena.

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