- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 06 April 2016
- Written by TOM MORFORD | STAFF WRITER
Coming off back-to-back road games, the men’s lacrosse team defeated the Canisius Griffins 11-6 Saturday in Buffalo, N.Y.
Heading into Saturday’s game, both teams were 1-1 in conference play, but MU’s recent 10-5 win over Manhattan propelled them forward into with a positive attitude, and the win against Canisius puts them at an undefeated 5-0 on the road.
“As a staff, it felt great to see our guys take a big step forward today in our development,” head coach Brian Fisher said. “We really emphasized doing the little things this week and it really showed up today. Our veterans and leaders really stepped up, played well and set the tone with our focus all day.”
Canisius and Monmouth are the highest scoring teams in the conference. One factor going against another high scoring team is setting the pace of the game early and stand out defense – both of which the Hawks accomplished against the Griffins.
“On the defensive end it was a total team effort,” Fisher said. “Our close defenders and defensive midfielders were all tough on the ball, which set the tone while [junior goalkeeper] Nick Hreshko played his best game this year and was excellent at the last line of defense.”
MU’s defense locked down Canisius’ top attackman Vince Gravino [who was recently drafted in the Major League Lacrosse by the Ohio Machine], holding him to one goal for the first half of the game.
MU is one of the best defensive units in the conference and they showed it on Saturday – not allowing a second-quarter goal.
In addition, Canisius had four chances to convert on extra man opportunities, and the Hawks only allowed one goal in those scenarios.
The Golden Griffins struggled to keep possession of the ball throughout the game and the Hawks exploited the fumbling Canisius offense. MU caused some steady caused turnovers at vital times of the game.
Junior defenseman Neil Ruppert, redshirt sophomore midfielder Dylan Schulte, and sophomore midfielder Grier Wilson each had two caused turnovers on the day.
Hreshko stonewalled numerous shots right on crease consistently throughout the game. These point blank saves acted as immediate moral boosters propelling the hawks forward to victory.
Hreshko had 14 saves on the day (seven of which in the last quarter) and boasts .541 save percentage for the season.
Junior attacker Chris Daly led seven separate Hawk scorers with four goals on the day.
“On the offensive end, Chris Daly has been a consistent threat all year and was great again today,” Fisher said. “[Junior midfielder] Eric Berger was tough all over the field, [junior midfielder] Zach Schleicher has been great all week and was the glue with whoever he ran with today. [Graduate attacker] John Castellano was the QB of the group this afternoon as a lot of the offense went through him and I cannot say enough about Dylan Schulte and everything he does for us.”
The second quarter was hands down the best quarter for the Hawks, not allowing the Griffins to score and putting four goals in set a strong lead for the rest of the game.
Immediately following the second half faceoff Daly fired in a goal, and an MU bench canoe celebration ensued [taking a page out of the Basketball’s Bench Mob Stylebook], breathing life into the sideline.
Schulte blasted one in at the 12:47 mark in an unassisted transition goal resulting in a Canisius timeout and huddle to reevaluate. The Griffins scoring drought finally came to an end with Gravino’s third quarter goal at 7:42.
A slew of penalties littered the fourth quarter including slashing, illegal procedure and pushing calls, amounting to three penalty minutes for Monmouth and two for Canisius.
Both teams tallied 35 shots during the game, MU placed 23 of them on cage and only 20 were on target for Canisius. The Hawks turned the ball over 11 times to the Griffins’ 16 times. Both teams scooped up 27 ground balls.
MU is now 6-3 overall and 2-1 in the MAAC. The Hawks play their next game against Detroit Mercy at home on Saturday, Apr. 16 at 3:00 p.m.
PHOTO COURTESY of Taylor Jackson