Desales vs. Messiah
April 25, 2009
The Game Story:
Center Valley, PA (April 25, 2009) Ė Freshman Michael Bassani (Califon, NJ/Voorhees) took a pass from fellow freshman Jeff Cook (Bay Shore, NY/Bay Shore) and scored his 15th goal of the game with 22 seconds left breaking a tie at eight and leading the DeSales University menís lacrosse team past Messiah College and into the MAC Playoffs for the first-time in school history.

The Bulldogs will be the #5 seed in the six-team playoff tournament next week. DSU (6-9, 5-5 MAC) will travel to the #4 seed, Elizabethtown College, on Monday in the first round with a game-time set for 4:00 pm. The winner of the game will advance to the semifinals played on Wednesday, with the finals to be held on Saturday at the highest remaining seedís home site.

DSU not only earns itís first-ever playoff appearance but does so with its first-ever win over Messiah College (7-7, 5-5 MAC) in 13 career meetings between the two schools. Trailing 4-2 after the Falcons scored early in the second quarter, the Bulldogs scored six straight goals to end the second period and to begin the fourth period to take an 8-4 lead with 14:29 left to play.

The Bulldogs started the scoring stretch with three goals in a span of 43 seconds to take a 5-4 lead and scored the only goal of the third quarter at the 7:22 mark. Messiah showed no quit, scoring four straight times in a span of three minutes late in the fourth period, tying the game at eight with 2:03 left on the clock.

Junior Kevin Walker (Wilmington, DE/Salesianum) won the ensuing face-off and after consecutive shots, Messiah gained control of the ball and cleared it into the DeSales defensive zone. A turnover gave the Bulldogs the ball right back and after sophomore Donald Clemens (Baldwin, NY/Baldwin) picked up a ground ball and DSU cleared the ball, Cook found Bassani who tallied his 15th goal of the year giving DeSales a 9-8 lead and ultimately the win. The Falcons did win the final face-off and got off a shot but that was saved by junior Jarryd Stamatelos (Cherry Hill, NJ/Cherry Hill West) as time expired and DSU celebrated the win.

Senior Joshua Van Hart (Glen Gardner, NJ/Voorhees) led the way offensively with four goals, while fellow senior Matthew Brancaccio (Greenvale, NY/North Shore) had two goals and one assist. Brancaccio is now one point shy of tying and two points shy of breaking the all-time scoring record at DeSales heading into Mondayís playoff game. Cook also scored a goal to go along with his game-winning assist and junior Matthew Kruszewski (Atco, NJ/Winslow Township) also scored a goal in the win.

Walker continued his terrific season in the face-off circle winning 12-of-20 and picked up six ground balls, while freshman Brendan Guerrier (Bellerose Terrace, NY/Chaminade) had a team-high eight ground balls in the win. Stamatelos was sensational in between the pipes making 15 saves, nine in the opening quarter to keep DeSales in the game.