Albany vs. Bucknell
March 27, 2010
The Game Story:
Albany, N.Y. – Rocky Bonitatibus and Kyle Brunk each scored in the fourth quarter as UAlbany held off nationally-ranked Bucknell, 7-6, to post its first win of the season on Saturday afternoon at John Fallon Field. The Bison are No. 19 in the USILA coaches’ poll and No. 18 in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse media rankings.

UAlbany (1-6) snapped a 5-5 tie in the final period on a pair of goals one minute and seven seconds apart. Bonitatibus, a sophomore midfielder, sent a high shot into the net from the left side after taking Brian Caufield’s pass from the point with 6:43 remaining. The go-ahead goal came just three seconds after the visitors had killed off a 30-second penalty for pushing.

After the Great Danes won the subsequent face-off, freshman Matt Mackenzie tried to pass the ball back to the goalkeeper, but Mike Danylyshyn picked off the errant throw. The junior attackman went right to the cage with the turnover, but goalkeeper John Carroll made the stop. UAlbany advanced up the field and Brunk delivered a sidearm blast from the right side that went inside the far post for a 7-5 advantage.

Bucknell (4-4) sliced the margin in half just 53 seconds later when Charlie Streep shook off defenseman Mike Banks and placed a low shot into the net from the left. The Bison, who made their second consecutive appearance in the Patriot League championship game last year, had three scoring opportunities in the final minute. Carroll made one of his 14 saves on a Streep blast from left of the crease. After Ryan Klipstein’s attempt sailed wide, Carroll got a piece of another Streep shot with two seconds to play.

“We were finally in a situation where we had a lead and were able to hang on,” said Carroll, who made double-figure saves for the sixth time this season. “Our defense did a good job of making them take more outside shots. (Mark) Kelly and (Brendan) Gleason were forcing bad decisions by pressing out on them. I credit our effort.”

UAlbany reversed a 2-1 deficit in the second quarter when Dave Brock tallied from left of the crease in a man-down situation and defensive midfielder Mike Finnegan scored his first goal as a collegian off a feed from Mark Cometti following a successful clear. The Bison regrouped to take a 4-3 lead to the intermission. Billy Eisenreich connected on a 10-yard shot from the right side after gathering in a Streep pass over a defender. All-America attackman Austin Winter then hit the net from right of the crease off Eisenreich’s left-to-right crossing pass with 2:42 left in the quarter.

The Great Danes scored twice in the third period. Brock, who had three goals and one assist, came out of a pile with a loose ball and drove on the cage to draw his team even at four apiece. The senior then set up midfielder Luke Cometti in the middle of the zone with a pass from the left side for a 5-4 lead. Bucknell got the equalizer early in the final stanza as Klipstein pushed his way in from the right and scored between a defender and short-stick midfielder.

“Our close defense dominated their attack, the best duo we have seen all year, and John (Carroll) had an outstanding day,” explained UAlbany coach Scott Marr, whose club had dropped eight in a row dating back to last season. “The defense was all over the ground balls and checking hard. That was big moment when John made that save after the face-off and then we went down and scored. We had a solid, positive week and now we have a win heading into league play.”

Bucknell’s Klipstein finished with two goals, while Eisenreich scored once and had two assists. Caufield handed out two assists for the Great Danes, who travel to Hartford for their America East Conference opener on Wednesday. UAlbany recorded its first national top-20 win since last March’s triumph over Massachusetts.