BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Providence College men's lacrosse team defeated Manhattan, 11-6, in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship game in Buffalo, N.Y. on Sunday, May 9. The victory marks the program's first-ever MAAC Championship title. Providence also receives the league's automatic bid to the 2004 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship Tournament. It will be the first appearance for the Friars at the NCAA's in the program's 25-year history.
In the first quarter, Manhattan jumped out to an early, 1-0, lead as Justin Otto connected off a pass from Greg Lewis just 36-seconds into play. The Jaspers follwed with their second goal of the game just one minute and 19-seconds later to make the score, 2-0. Chris Oppito was credited with the goal off of an assist from Eugene Tanner. The Friars made their first appearance on the scoreboard at the 11:58 mark of the first quarter as junior Jonathan Hollister (Longmeadow, Mass.) scored, unassisted, to make the score 2-1. The Jaspers responded with their third goal of the afternoon with 10:13 on the clock as Lewis netted a tally that was assisted by Oppito. The Friars got back within one goal with 4:30 remaining in the first quarter as junior Dan Giuntini (Floral Park, N.Y.) netted his team-leading 26th goal of the season while PC held a two-man advantage. Giuntini's goal was assisted by senior Kevin Kornobis (Merrick, N.Y.). Giuntini tied the game, 3-3, with his 27th tally of the season at the 2:14 mark, unassisted. The Friars took their first lead of the game with 17-seconds remaining in the opening session as sophomore Michael Farley (Westfield, N.J.) connected off a feed from freshman Brendan Ryan (Chatham, N.J.).
In the second quarter, the Friars rattled off two-straight goals to take a 6-3 advantage. Freshman Mark Bundra (Winnetka, Ill.) tallied the first of PC's two goals at the 10:53 mark off an assist from Farley. Giuntini followed with his third goal of the game (28th of the season), unassisted with 8:20 on the clock to take a three goal lead (6-3). Manhattan scored its only goal of the second quarter with 1:11 remaining to make the score 6-4. Otto was credited with the goal, his second of the game, unassisted.
In the third quarter, PC took a 7-4 lead as sophomore Tom Kelly (Henniker, N.H.) scored his first goal of the afternoon, unassisted, at the 14:09 mark. The Jaspers rallied to score two unanswered goals in the third to close out the quarter. Brian Murray netted Manhattan's first goal in the stretch from Otto with 7:57 on the clock, followed by Lewis who scored his second goal of the day at the 3:13 mark to make the score 7-6 going into the final quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Providence pulled away with four-unanswered goals to win the game, 11-6. Farley started the scoring barrage with an unassisted goal just 51-seconds into play. Giuntini followed up with his fourth of the game (29th of the season) off an assist from Hollister at the 9:57 mark to make the score 9-6. At the 8:51 mark, senior Sean Kirwan (Drexel Hill, Pa.) netted his first tally of the day, assisted by Giuntini to give PC a 10-6 advantage. Hollister followed with his second goal of the game, unassisted, at the 7:14 mark to make the final score, 11-6.
Junior Mark Rotella (Smithtown, N.Y.) was selected the MAAC Championship Most Valuable Player at the conclusion of the tournament. He won 14-of-20 face-offs in the game. Junior Andrew McMinn (Pittsburgh, Pa.) made 13 saves in goal for Providence, including five stops in the pivotal fourth quarter.
Providence College (9-7) will advance to the 2004 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship Tournament for the first time in the program's 25-year history. The NCAA Championship selection show will be televised on Monday, May 10 at 3:40 p.m. (EST) on ESPN News. During the selection show, the Friars will find out who their opponent will be in the 16-team field. PC received one of eight automatic bids to the tournament.
Aside from Rotella earning MVP honors in the Tournament, four Friars were named to the MAAC All-Tournament Team. Giuntini, Farley, McMinn and senior defenseman Brian O'Rorke (Montclair, N.J.) were those who earned recognition.
Providence vs. Manhattan