In a win-or-go-home matchup in the MAAC Semifinals, Marist men’s lacrosse beat Mount St. Mary’s 19-7.
Only one win away from the MAAC Championship Game, Marist needed to play their best and they did just that as graduate student attackman Jamison Embury led all scorers with eight points on the day. Marist completely dominated the Mount all game long; the Manhattan color commentator even called Marist “the hottest offense in America,” and rightfully so.
Faceoffs were a huge part of deciding the winner today. MAAC Faceoff Specialist of the Year Connor Beals went 22 out of 30 for Mount St. Mary’s. Sophomore Dylan Bedell went 8 out of 30 for his Red Foxes. When Bedell did not win the clamps, he fought to get the ball out to his wings all game.
Two early penalties by defensemen led to an opening goal from graduate student midfielder Colin Gouin to make it 1-0 Mount St. Mary’s. On the Red Foxes’ first three offensive possessions, Jamison Embury, MAAC Offensive Player of the Year graduate student attackman JoJo Pirreca and freshman midfielder Peter Murray scored three straight goals to give Marist a 3-1 lead with five minutes left in the first.
Marist added to their lead with goals from Jamison Embury and his twin brother, senior midfielder Hunter Embury. Pirreca also got into the scoring mix, as did senior midfielder Kellen Pulera, who had been out with an injury for four games. Ultimately, Marist capped off the first quarter with seven unanswered goals to stake out a 7-1 lead.
In the second quarter, it was a new goalie for the Mount, but the results stayed the same as Marist sophomore Jake Deacy ripped one past the new Mount goaltender. It took eight unanswered goals for the Mount to score, but at long last, sophomore midfielder Nathanael Merchant got one back for his team.
Marist added on another goal from Jamison Embury, his third of the game, pushing the lead back up to seven, 9-2 Marist. On the ensuing possessions, Gouin scored his second of the game and senior long stick midfielder Steven Schmitt scored, cutting the lead down to five, 9-4 Marist.
Just when it looked like the Mount was gaining momentum, junior midfielder Joshua Balcarcel used his shiftiness to score, while Pirreca continued his great game with a goal of his own, making the score 11-4 Marist.
The Red Foxes are extremely difficult to guard because of how they move without the ball all game long, and the Mount would have no answer for that in the first half. Mount St. Mary’s ended the half with more shots on net than Marist, despite scoring only three goals.
Marist started the second half with another goal from Balcarcel and graduate student midfielder Tyler Amirrato, his second of the year, making it 13-4 Marist. Jamison Embury scored his fourth goal of the game putting Marist up 10, and Hunter Embury picked up his fourth assist on the play. Balcarcel put on a clinic all game long, as he scored his third of the game; sophomore midfielder Sam Ferell also contributed, giving Marist a 16-4 lead.
In the fourth quarter, each team traded garbage time goals, with Pirreca and Jamison Embury adding to their scoring totals. Marist held the Mount to seven goals, their second-lowest goal total of the season.
The Marist defense did its job today as graduate student defenseman Kurt Wessner and sophomore defenseman Aidan McCaffrey led the team in caused turnovers with two apiece. Graduate student defender Kyle Stofko locked down Mount St. Mary’s best scorer all game, as graduate student attackman Jared McMahon finished with one point on the day.
Marist senior goalkeeper Daniel O’Meara had nineteen big saves. O’Meara played arguably his best game of the season as he turned defense into offense all game long. In between the pipes on the other side, junior goalie Griffin McGinley and senior Andrew Preston combined to finish with six saves on the day.
Marist will play in the MAAC Championship Game with a chance to go to the national tournament on the line against the winner of Manhattan and Siena on Saturday, May 6. Game time is scheduled for 11 a.m. on ESPNU regardless of who they play.
Edited by Luke Sassa
Photo Credit: Marist Athletics