NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men's lacrosse team survived a rough and tumble battle with fellow Connecticut opponent and rival, Albertus Magnus College (AMC), in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) matchup at Celentano Field, on a wind-blasted Wednesday night.
Those tuning in were treated to a back-and-forth matchup that felt almost like a playoff game. Neither squad led by more than two goals, that is until sophomore attackman Evan Baden (Burlington, Conn.) landed the crushing blow into the back of the net, a fourth-period sling with little time left to seal the victory for USJ. The Blue Jays were led by senior attackman and captain Owen LaPorte (Farmington, Conn.), who scored two more goals to make it 28 on the year, just one away from the most scored in the conference this season. Sophomore midfielder Nicholas Grant (Berlin, Conn.), junior attackman Matt Guerin (East Longmeadow, Mass.), and Baden also scored two each. Three Falcons scored two each as well, including freshman midfielder Zaheim Wilkins (Mastic Beach, N.Y.).
Score: Saint Joseph 10, Albertus Magnus 7
Records: USJ (5-4, 4-3 GNAC), AMC (1-6, 0-5 GNAC)
Location: Celentano Field | New Haven, Conn.
COACH QUOTE [Andrew Fink]
"It's very hard to play back-to-back, but the team kept playing hard all the way until the end. Samuel Barbetti was huge today with the faceoffs and of course all those key ground balls. It was really nice to see other guys step up too."
- The Falcons controlled the game early, taking a 3-2 lead after one. Wilkins scored both of his goals in the first period.
- USJ fought back in the second, netting three of the four goals in the period. Sophomore midfielder Benjamin Green (Chelmsford, Mass.) beat the buzzer with just his second goal of the season, giving USJ a slim 5-4 halftime lead, but more importantly, the momentum.
- The Falcons came out of the halftime break ready to defend their field though, shutting out the Blue Jays and scoring two goals to take a 6-5 lead heading into the final stanza. Saint Joseph made it tougher on themselves as penalties stacked up, and Albertus Magnus kept the pressure on.
- The fourth was as riveting a quarter as you will get in GNAC play. Both teams left it all on the field each and every possession. Guerin asserted himself into the ball game with back-to-back goals to give USJ their first lead of the half, 7-6. AMC tied it up within 30 seconds, but the Blue Jays answered back once again just two minutes later. This time, USJ squeezed in an extra goal to go up by two with just over eight minutes remaining.
- Despite playing the night before, the Blue Jays defense still looked stout, especially over the final eight minutes, preventing the home team from mounting any form of a comeback. Baden found the back of the cage one last time, serving as the exclamation point on another huge road victory.
- The Blue Jays remain unbeaten when scoring double-digit goals (5-0). They are 0-4 when scoring less than 10.
- USJ committed 10 less turnovers than they did at Emmanuel Tuesday night.
- Albertus Magnus won the ground ball battle, 38-33.
- First time in program history USJ has won games on back-to-back nights.
NUMBER TO KNOW
28 – Laporte is now at 28 goals on the season, just one away from a tie for the most in the GNAC this season.
USJ – Sophomore Trey McCann (Simsbury, Conn.) went the distance victoriously for the second straight evening, making critical saves throughout the contest, 15 in total, and improves his record to 4-4 between the pipes on the season.
AMC – Sophomore Dane Walsh (Bethany, Conn.) was dealt the loss (1-6), allowing 10 goals in a full 60 minutes of action, and matched McCann with 15 saves.
BATTLE AT THE 'X'
Freshman faceoff specialist Samuel Barbetti (Guilford, Conn.) made his presence known once again, as the Blue Jays won 15 of 21 faceoffs. 'The X-Man' is now 111-of-189 (59%) on faceoffs in 2021, second best in the conference.
The USJ men's lacrosse team continues its five-game road trip to cap the season with their first of two straight matchups against the Wildcats of Johnson & Wales University. The first is slated for Saturday, April 24 at 3:00 p.m. The second (and regular season finale) is set for 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 27.
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