Men's lacrosse falls in Northeast-10 Conference opener at No. 7 Pace

Men's lacrosse falls in Northeast-10 Conference opener at No. 7 Pace

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. - The Saint Michael's College men's lacrosse team opened Northeast-10 Conference play with an 18-11 loss at No. 7 Pace University on Friday afternoon in Pace Stadium. The Purple Knights are 1-1, while the Setters, whose national ranking is according to US Lacrosse, are 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the NE10. Saint Michael's began a run of six straight games against teams either nationally ranked or receiving votes.

Senior Tom Fitzgerald (Cranford, N.J./Cranford) registered his fourth career hat trick for the visitors, classmate Taylor Wallace (Bedford, N.H./Bedford) had two tallies, and first-year Ralph Grillone III (Brockton, Mass./Cardinal Spellman) notched a goal and an assist. Junior Brian Loughlin (Kingston, N.Y./Kingston) dished off three assists while scooping three ground balls, upping his career helper total to 56 and passing George Finn '90 (54) and Mike Boerma '08 (54) to take over fifth in program history.

Sophomore long-stick midfielder Matt Cotter (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro Regional) recorded eight ground balls and two caused turnovers, first-year Justin Richmond (New Market, Md./Linganore) was 16-for-32 on faceoffs with three ground balls, and junior Matt Hanley (Plainview, N.Y./Bethpage) totaled 13 saves and three ground balls. Sophomore Matthew Logue (Watertown, Conn./The Gunnery) scored and posted three ground balls, while junior Charlie Murphy (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury), sophomores Matt Blois (Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire) and Connor McGuirk (Glens Falls, N.Y./Glens Falls), and first-year Aidan Maron (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) also scored. Maron tallied his first college goal.

Junior Liam Brennan had three goals and three assists for Pace, while classmate Joshua Kreitler and sophomore Kevin Vogelsberg also turned in hat tricks. Junior Robert Beshlian made eight saves.

The Purple Knights held vast advantages in ground balls (14-4) and faceoff wins (7-3) during the opening quarter and trailed by one goal with a little more than a minute left. Blois converted Grillone's pass 23 seconds in for the opening tally before four of the next five goals came from Setters. Four Pace players scored around Fitzgerald's marker at 6:30, with junior Michael Pappalardo making it 4-2 with 3:17 left. Grillone cut the deficit to one with 2:23 to go, but Brennan kicked off a 4-0 run at 1:07 before feeding Vogelsberg for a man-up marker at five seconds.

The Setters headed into the first intermission up 6-3 and extended their edge to five on a Brennan goal at 7:13 of the second. McGuirk found the back of the net at 2:12, and the visitors trailed 8-4 at halftime.

Four different Pace players scored in the opening 7:36 of the third period to push the lead to eight, and Saint Michael's drew within six twice down the stretch. On the strength of a 3-1 run that featured goals by Fitzgerald, Logue and Wallace, the visitors were down 13-7 with 4:32 left in the third before the Vogelsberg scored the final two tallies of the period. Fitzgerald and Murphy scored 2:58 apart to draw their squad within 15-9 at 11:34 of the fourth, but three of the next four goals came from Setters, with Kreitler scoring twice.

The Purple Knights host their next three opponents, taking a break from NE10 play to oppose No. 8 New York Institute of Technology on Wednesday at 3 p.m.