May 5, 2013

Detroit Beats Siena in OT, Makes First NCAA Tournament

from press release

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Sophomore Mike Birney tallied a career-high five goals, but none more important than the last one as his game winner two minutes into overtime was the golden goal as the University of Detroit Mercy men's lacrosse team mounted a huge comeback to defeat Siena, 11-10, to win the MAAC Championship on Sunday afternoon in a game televised by ESPN3. The game was a rematch of the 2011 MAAC Championship won by Siena, 12-3.

The win also gave the fourth-seeded Titans - who beat top-seeded Marist 7-6 in the semifinals - an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament for a program that is in its fifth year of existence and just its fourth year in the MAAC.

The MAAC Most Outstanding Player went to Birney with his five goals today – which also tied a career high with five points - and three on Friday in the semifinals. Junior Tom Masterson had three assists and a goal, junior Alex Maini posted two markers and a helper and sophomore Scott Drummond put in a pair. Senior A.J. Levell made eight saves in net, while senior John Dwyer had three caused turnovers and four ground balls.

Birney was also named to the All-Tournament Team along with senior Jamie Hebden, senior Jordan Houtby and Levell.

The game was all knotted at 10-10 heading into overtime and after third-seeded Siena won the opening faceoff, the Saints tried to get their offense started but through the pass away. UDM then took possession and that's when the ball went into the crosse of Birney for the winning strike.

It looked like Detroit was going to get run out of the championship game as Siena scored seven of eight from the midpoint of the first period to the 5:05 mark in the second, but trailing 9-4 early in the third, the Detroit offense started to rev up with five-straight goals.

Drummond started the rally with two-straight unassisted markers and then Masterson fed Birney twice in a little more than a minute and both times, the second-year midfielder was able to rip one past the goalie, the last bringing Detroit within one, 9-8, with 5:11 left in the third.

Maini then took on two defenders and with a great dodge, he was able to get free and tie it up at 9-all with 2:43 remaining in the period, giving the Titans a 5-0 run in about a 5:30-minute span.

Siena, though, was able to close out the period with a goal at the 44-second mark to take a 10-9 lead and that's the way it stood until 3:45 left in the game when Maini tied it again at 10-10.

Detroit outshot Siena, 48-27 and forced the Saints to commit 18 turnovers, with 11 of them caused. The ground ball battle went 29-18 to Siena, but UDM was 18-of-20 in clears and had just 11 turnovers.

Hebden and Houtby each had a pair of caused turnovers and Houtby grabbed three GB's. Redshirt freshman Damien Hicks was 10-of-24 on faceoffs with five ground balls and Masterson also chipped in with three GB pickups.

Detroit (5-9) got on the board first as sophomore Brandon Beauregard hooked up with Masterson just a little more than a minute into the game. Siena then got on the scoreboard 30 seconds later, but then sophomore Thomas Sible intercepted a pass on defense and streaked down the field, putting a laser into the net for a 2-1 lead.

The Saints (8-9) then went on a 3-0 run to open a 4-2 advantage after one before Birney struck for his first with the man-up at the 9:47 mark of the second. Siena then tallied four straight within three minutes to take an 8-3 lead with 5:05 on the clock, but the Titans were able to get on the board with 3:29 left in the half as Birney had an unassisted marker.

Siena then started the third period with a goal to extend its lead to 9-4, but that is when the Titans caught fire with five-straight goals to tie it all up at 9-9.

The Titans will now learn their destination in the NCAA Tournament tonight as the Division I selection show is set for tonight at 9:00 p.m., on ESPNU.

Game Notes:
Research has not been fully confirmed, but it is believed that Detroit joins Bryant as the quickest teams to reach the NCAA Division I Tournament as both teams are in their fifth year of Division I... Detroit added lacrosse with no club team elevated and therefore was an extremely brand new program when it debuted in 2009... Levell has now been named to the All-Tournament in three-straight years... It was Houtby's second time being named All-Tournament as he was selected in 2011... Maini is now the school record holder with 98 points, passing former Titan Scott Harris (2009-12)... Detroit is now 2-4 all-time against Siena... UDM is now 4-2 when playing at the Demske Sports Complex... Detroit lost to Siena, 12-3, in the 2011 MAAC Championship...UDM lost its first-ever lacrosse game, 21-1, to Ohio State on Feb. 7, 2009...

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