Marist vs. Manhattan
April 25, 2009
The Game Story:
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – The Manhattan College men’s lacrosse team is headed back to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament. Facing a winner-take-all situation in Saturday night’s regular season finale, the Jaspers (9-7, 5-3 MAAC) did what they needed to do, posting a 10-9 victory over Marist (4-9, 4-4 MAAC) at Tenney Stadium to clinch a place in the four-team postseason tournament for the second straight year.

Manhattan struck first at the 9:19 mark of the first quarter when Tyler Sabens (Falmouth, Mass.) connected with James Synowiez (Owego, N.Y.). However, Marist scored twice in the final 1:23 of the quarter to take a 2-1 lead after 15 minutes. The Red Foxes increased their lead to 3-1 on Paul Santavicca’s man-up tally with 13:53 remaining in the second quarter. After Joe Variano (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) scored for the Jaspers to cut Marist’s advantage to 3-2, the Red Foxes rallied for three straight goals to increase their lead to 6-2.

The Jaspers responded with four goals in the final 4:18 of the first half to send the game into the halftime break tied at 6-6. Kelly Mahon (Spring Lake, N.J.) got the rally started with a man-up goal at the 4:18 mark. Manhattan then got three goals in a span of 1:22 to tie the game. Sal Perrotto (Garnerville, N.Y.) notched an unassisted tally with 2:41 left in the half, then Sabens connected with Salvatore Spatarella (Rocky Point, N.Y.) 28 seconds later. The Jaspers tied the game on Synowiez’s unassisted tally with 1:19 remaining before halftime.

Synowiez completed a hat trick to give Manhattan a 7-6 lead at the 13:38 mark of the third quarter before Santavicca knotted the contest once more less than a minute later. The Jaspers went back in front when Brett Miranda (Ossining, N.Y.) found the back of the net with 10:44 left in the quarter. Variano and Angelo Marrano (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) tacked on goals 15 seconds apart early in the fourth quarter to increase Manhattan’s advantage to 10-7.

After building the three-goal edge, the Jaspers slipped into a defensive mode, trying to protect the lead. Marist began a comeback in earnest when Santavicca scored a man-up goal, his fourth of the game, with 1:16 remaining in the contest. The Red Foxes won the ensuing faceoff, but Ryan Sharkey turned the ball over with 36 seconds left in the game. Manhattan called timeout and held on until a Synowiez turnover with nine seconds to go. Sharkey scored for Marist as time expired, but it was too late for the Red Foxes, and the Jaspers celebrated their second straight playoff berth.

With a hat trick, Synowiez increased his MAAC-leading total to 40 goals on the season. Variano added two goals, while Perrotto had a goal and an assist. Justin Jensen (Bay Shore, N.Y.) and Sabens each distributed two assists. Manhattan, which went undefeated in conference road games this season, held a 30-22 advantage on the ground. Marrano led the way with nine ground balls. Steve Sternberg (Easton, Conn.) added seven ground balls in the victory. John Geagan (Seaford, N.Y.) made 10 saves in goal to improve to 7-7 on the season.

For the Red Foxes, Santavicca recorded four goals and Sharkey finished with three points (two goals, one assist). Matt Francis collected a team-best seven ground balls for Marist. Ryan Penner (4-9) made 13 saves, as Manhattan outshot Marist 37-28.

The MAAC Tournament gets underway on Friday, May 1, at the Demske Sports Complex in Buffalo, N.Y. The third-seeded Jaspers will face second-seeded Mount St. Mary’s in the MAAC semifinals at 4:30 p.m. on Friday. When the teams met at Gaelic Park on March 14, the Mountaineers posted a 12-9 victory. The winner takes on either top-seeded Siena, the undefeated regular season MAAC champions, or No. 4 Providence for the MAAC championship on Sunday, May 3.