WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men's lacrosse team left it all out on the field in its 2021 season and home opener, but couldn't quite keep up with a well-disciplined and well-experienced Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU) Warriors' team in the second half, falling, 8-2, Friday night 'under the lights', for the very first time in school history.
The Blue Jays kept pace in the first half, with second-quarter goals from freshman attack Ryan Paltauf (Southbury, Conn.), the first of his collegiate career, and senior attack Owen LaPorte (Farmington, Conn.). The game was tied at two a piece, before two late penalties gave the Warriors (2-0) all they needed to capitalize, scoring with less than a minute left in the half, and more importantly, taking all the momentum. The Blue Jays trailed the rest of the way.
Score: Saint Joseph 2, Eastern Connecticut 8
Records: USJ 0-1, ECSU 2-0
Location: USJ Lacrosse Field | West Hartford, Conn.
COACH QUOTE [Andrew Fink]
"With COVID, no scrimmages, it was just kind of 'hey, let's just throw that ball out there and play'. I thought our guys did it. There's no quit in them. Our goal today was to earn [Eastern's] respect, and hopefully it's something we can build on for the future."
- First-ever meeting between the Blue Jays and Warriors.
- First official game under the lights in school history since they were installed on the new USJ Turf Field this past summer.
- First goal in a USJ uniform for LaPorte, who was a 30-goal scorer for head coach Andrew Fink at Mount Ida College, playing there until 2018 when the school closed. LaPorte followed Fink to USJ, but sat out the abbreviated 2020 season with an injury.
NUMBER TO KNOW
6 – The warriors scored six goals unanswered to pull away for good, including the go-ahead goal with just seconds left in the first half.
USJ – Sophomore Trey McCann (Simsbury, Conn.) tied his career-high with 18 saves on 26 shots faced, going the full 60 minutes (0-1), and giving the Blue Jays a fighting chance.
ECSU – The Warriors relied on their graduate student goalie in Jack Farrell (Stratford, Conn.) who got his second win of the season (2-0). It was a near-57-minute effort with 10 saves on 12 shots.
The USJ men's lacrosse team will be back home again for another matchup, this time against Mitchell College. The faceoff is set for Wednesday, March 10 at 4:00 p.m.
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