WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – It was a hard-fought, heavyweight battle on the USJ Lacrosse Field on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, but the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men's lacrosse team was victorious with a series of late goals and stops, 19-13, over Anna Maria College (AMC), in its 2021 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) opener. The victory marks USJ's first-ever GNAC win in the history of the program after its inaugural 2020 season was stopped short after just one conference contest.
Senior captain and attackman Owen LaPorte (Farmington, Conn.) led the way once again for the Blue Jays with a game-high six goals, including two in the second and third periods respectively. He also added two assists. Freshman attackman Ryan Paltauf (Southbury, Conn.) continued to stand out in just his third career game, scoring two goals and adding a game-high four assists. Junior midfielder Eric Glover (Baldwinville, Mass.) led the way for the AMCATS with four goals and an assist. Three other AMCATS scored two goals each.
It was a one or two-goal game pretty much throughout, but the Blue Jays never actually trailed, leading 10-5 at the half. AMC made its run late in the contest, cutting the margin to two, 14-12, with just over 11:00 left in the fourth quarter. Saint Joseph turned it on to close it out, scoring five unanswered goals to finish off Anna Maria in what proved to be a true test of grit and tenacity.
Score: Anna Maria 13, Saint Joseph 19
Records: AMC 1-2 (1-1 GNAC), USJ 2-1 (1-0 GNAC)
Location: USJ Lacrosse Field | West Hartford, Conn.
COACH QUOTE [Andrew Fink on winning their GNAC opener]
"It's fantastic to be back in the GNAC and playing. We have tremendous respect for Anna Maria, and just having an opportunity to play again is the most important thing. Today was definitely back and forth, it came down to just us getting it done at the end. Today was our first-ever GNAC win, and that was our motivation today."
PLAYER QUOTE [Ryan Paltauf on sharing the ball]
"My goal was to get my teammates the ball, and try and score if I could…I've always been a big feeder. I like giving my teammates an opportunity to score."
- Nine Blue Jays found the back of the net in the game, a season-high.
- Paltauf now has 15 assists on the season, more than the rest of the Blue Jays combined (14).
- USJ nearly doubled up the AMCATS with 70 shots, to just 37 for AMC.
- Anna Maria had 12 infractions, for 10:00 of penalty time.
- Saint Joseph scored at least four goals in every period.
- Anna Maria scored back-to-back goals three different times.
NUMBER TO KNOW
50 – The Blue Jays made half of their shots on goal (19-38, 50%), the third-highest shooting percentage in program history.
USJ – Sophomore Trey McCann (Simsbury, Conn.) picked up the dub defending the cage with nine saves on 22 shots faced, earning his second win of the 2021 season (2-1).
AMC – Senior Griffin Moore (Worcester, Mass.) put on a clinic early on with a series of acrobatic saves. He stopped 19 shots despite the loss (1-1).
The USJ men's lacrosse team will continue on with GNAC play, heading to the road on Saturday, March 27 for a matchup at Rivier. The opening faceoff is set for 1:00 p.m.
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