Bryant Adds Flare to Big Win over Wagner
from press release
SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Led by four goals from junior midfielder Matt Larson (Cheshire, Conn.), the Bryant University men’s lacrosse team never trailed Saturday afternoon against Wagner, blasting past the Seahawks, 17-6, at the Bryant Turf Complex.
Larson paced nine Bulldog scorers, four of whom recorded multi-goal outings, collecting a game-high four tallies on just five shots on goal while rookie attacker Peter McMahon (Wilton, Conn.) chipped in four points of his own off a trio of goals and one assist in Saturday’s home win. Sophomore Max Weisenberg (Long Beach, N.Y.) also added three scores in the affair, while junior attacker John Truscello (Holbrook, N.Y.) recorded two goals with a helper for three points on the day.
Bryant (5-2) got the scoring started early with a trio of tallies to take a 3-0 advantage before the Seahawks (0-5) would answer. It took Weisenberg just 3:12 to come upfield and record an unassisted goal, and freshman JK Poirier (Coatesville, Pa.) took a great feed from senior defenseman Matt Murnane (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) four minutes later to up the score to 2-0 in favor of the home side. Murnane recorded his first point of the season with the assist, bringing the ball all the way up the right side before passing it off to Poirier on the left for the one timer.
Larson would make it 3-0 with his first goal of the game with 31 seconds to play in the first, but the Bulldogs soon found their lead down to just two, as Wagner’s Sean Travis fired a shot from up high that found net as time expired.
But that was as close as the Seahawks would get in the contest, as Bryant would score the next three tallies in impressive fashion.
Truscello kickstarted second-frame scoring just three minutes
in, collecting a perfect pass from Poirier for a one-time shot from
the right side to take a 4-1 edge. But the play started all the way
back in the Bulldogs’ defensive third, when junior Rob
Stufano (Garden City, N.Y.) forced a key turnover from
Wagner’s William Hedges, allowing Poirier to steal the ball
at the midline.
Larson would up Bryant’s lead just 40 seconds later, coming around the left side of the Seahawk cage for a turnaround goal that found real estate behind Wagner netminder Michael Gutkin.
But the most exciting tally of the day came at the 10-minute mark off the stick of Weisenberg. With an extra player on the field, the Bulldogs worked the ball up and around to sophomore Travis Harrington (Vestal, N.Y.) to the right of the cage. When Harrington saw the streaking Weisenberg come open as he crossed through the crease in front of the visiting goal, he hit the sophomore leading scorer with the perfect feed. In one swift motion and without breaking stride, Weisenberg handled the pass and took an over-the-shoulder shot as he ran by, finding net for a man-up goal that put the home side up, 6-1.
“I will certainly give Max credit,” said head coach Mike Pressler. “But that’s not a play we make normally. Those glitzy or showy plays, that’s not who we are. But in this case, he caught it and he was behind the goal line and that was the appropriate play, the only play he had, and the ball went in.”
Wagner’s Cody Isdaner would get the next two to close the gap to 6-3, including one on junior goalie Alec Rosenbruch (Nashua, N.H.) after starter Jameson Love (Darien, Conn.) was flagged for a penalty, but Bryant responded, ripping off seven-straight goals spanning the second and third quarters.
Three of those scores came before the halftime break, two of them in the final minute of the second frame, including a powerful Larson goal with just eight seconds on the first-half clock.
“I think we had a great first quarter and we had a couple key goals to go up, 9-3, but at halftime we said let’s just put this one away and that’s what they did,” said Pressler of his team. “I told them the first five minutes of the third quarter were the most crucial part, and the guys accepted that and put forth a great effort. But really, it goes back to the faceoff and the play of Evan Roberts. We went 20-of-24 at the X, and if you do that, well, you’re going to win the lacrosse game.”
Out of the break, four more Bulldog goals gave the home side a 13-3 advantage with 7:26 still to play in the third. From behind the Wagner net, McMahon hooked up with Harrington out in front less than two minutes before McMahon scored a goal of his own, assisted by Truscello. Weisenberg notched his final tally with 9:06 to play in the third session, and the Bulldogs would cap off their seven-goal run with a tally from a less likely target in rookie Kyle Crowley (Scituate, Mass.), who recorded his first collegiate goal with 7:26 to go in the period.
“I thought Peter McMahon was really on his game today,” said Pressler. “From the beginning to the end, just a lot of positive plays from our rookie attacker.”
Wagner would score three uninterrupted goals late in the third and early in the fourth to bring the score to 13-6, but that was all the more scoring the Seahawks would do, as Bryant closed out the final frame with a quartet of unanswered goals, all unassisted, for the 17-6 final. Larson and Truscello each scored their last goals of the outing with 9:20 and 8:03 to play, respectively, before senior captain Bryant Amitrano (Valley Stream, N.Y.) and freshman Nils Thompson (Alberta, Canada) closed out the scoring in the final seven minutes. Thompson’s goal with 3:23 on the clock was the first collegiate point for the rookie and just his second appearance of the season.
“It was great to see the scoring spread around a lot and to see us scoring in a lot of different ways,” Pressler said. “We scored in transition, we scored from midfield, we scored man-up goals, goals from in close – for us today it was a much-needed effort offensively.”
The game was wrought with penalties, the teams combining for 12 on the afternoon, seven of them from green jerseys. Bryant outshot the Seahawks by a 51-19 margin, picking up nearly three times as many ground balls as its opponent, 46-17. Junior faceoff man Evan Roberts (West Cornwall, Vt.) paced the Black and Gold with a game-high nine. Roberts would go 16-of-20 from the faceoff X on the day, and the Bulldogs would win 20 of the game’s 24 total faceoffs (Jason Gilmartin, 3-3; Teddy Mason, 1-1).
“I was really really pleased with how we got going offensively today, and the credit goes to Evan at the faceoff,” said Pressler. “He was spectacular. He earned his second Player of the Game award in the last three games. Because of his play, we kept getting the ball back on offense, and that was certainly a jumpstart for our front line.”
Each team would attempt 13 clears with the Bulldogs succeeding on 10 and Wagner on eight. Bryant registered 10 caused turnovers, led by two apiece from Weisenberg and Mason Poli (Downingtown, Pa.), to Wagner’s nine.
Love stood strong between the pipes, making seven saves – four in the first session – while Gutkin made 11 saves on the day, including five in the fourth quarter.
“We have a lot of youth and putting that team together offensively takes time and takes patience,” said Pressler. “But a 17-6 win certainly gives us momentum going into arguably our toughest game of the year. We have four marquee events coming up and the Bulldogs have to play better to be successful in them.”
The Bulldogs will face a tougher test in their next outing, hosting No. 12/15 Stony Brook at the Bryant Turf Complex on Saturday, March 27 at 1 p.m. From there, Bryant will hit the road for a three-game, seven-day road trip against local rivals Providence College and No. 17/20 Brown, as well as future Northeast Conference opponent No. 19/RV Robert Morris.
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