Perfect Massa Helps Bryant Top Richmond, 9-6
from Press Release
COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. – Despite the University of Richmond closing the gap to one-goal game early in the fourth, the No. 12 Bryant University men's lacrosse team took advantage of a perfect day at the X from junior faceoff specialist Kevin Massa(Huntington, N.Y.) and used a late spark from its top midfield line to pull out its sixth-straight victory, 9-6, Saturday afternoon at Cold Spring Harbor High School.
Massa's perfect 19-for-19 day at the X ties the NCAA single-game record for faceoff winning percentage and came with a game-best 15 ground balls to lead the Bulldogs (8-2), who also got a hat trick from senior midfielder Colin Dunster (Cos Cob, Conn.). Dunster's trio of scores included the game's final tally with three minutes to play to secure the victory, but it was sophomore linemate Collins Gantz (Denver, Colo.) who was the scoring spark down the stretch, netting back-to-back unassisted tallies to pull away from a Richmond (2-8) side that had just closed the game to a single goal.
"I've never seen perfect in my entire career," said Bryant head coach Mike Pressler of Massa's performance. "Kevin was absolutely incredible, and without question, we needed every one of those faceoffs to pull this one out."
After scoring the only marker of the third quarter – an unassisted goal from senior middieAlex Zomerfeld (Port Jefferson, N.Y.) – the Bulldogs entered the fourth with a 6-3 advantage, but the cushion wouldn't last long.
Just 26 seconds into the final frame, J.P. Forester streaked down the field in transition off a Bryant turnover, taking a pass from A.J. Lapitino and firing it past Bulldog netminder Gunnar Waldt (Freeland, Md.) to close the gap to two, 6-4.
Less than two minutes later, Jean-Luc Chetner netted his 11th score of the season to narrow the Black and Gold lead to just a single tally, pulling the momentum firmly onto the Spider sideline with 13 minutes still to play.
But Gantz renewed the Bulldogs' two-goal edge with 8:33 remaining in regulation and gave his team a three-goal lead minutes later, taking the clock under the five-minute mark with an 8-5 margin favoring the Black and Gold.
"That was the spark," said Pressler. "Collins's spark in the fourth quarter was the difference for us today. He made two outstanding plays when we needed him the most."
Mitchell Goldberg closed the game to two once more with 3:28 to play, but Dunster got it back 28 ticks later to put an end to Richmond's comeback thoughts and put a period on the scoring for the contest.
"I think the conditions had a lot to do with the play today," said Pressler. "Between the rain and the temperature, the overall skill level on both sides was certainly subpar, so I'm not surprised that this was a struggle for us, especially on offense."
The Bulldogs opened the game on a three-goal tear, recording tallies from Dunster, junior middie Brian Schlansker (Glenville, N.Y.) and rookie attack Tucker James (Essex Fells, N.J.) before the Spiders got themselves on the board with 5:41 to go in the first on Forester's first of two tallies.
Dunster, assisted by senior attack Dan Sipperly (Greenwich, N.Y.), and redshirt-freshman longpole Cody O'Donnell (Smithfield, R.I.), assisted by Zomerfeld, gave the Bulldogs a 5-1 edge in the early seconds of the second frame. Richmond would do the remainder of the scoring before the halftime break, however, getting unaided scores from Goldberg and Alex Hatem to send the teams into the intermission with the Bulldogs out in front, 5-3.
On the afternoon, Bryant outshot Richmond, 37-31, firing 10 shots in three of the four quarters. Thanks in large part to Massa's day at the X, the Bulldogs dominated the ground ball game, 48-29, with Spider defenseman Brendan Hynes leading the home team with seven. James and O'Donnell chipped in six apiece on the afternoon for the Black and Gold.
Richmond forced 11 caused turnovers, including four from Jackson Cabot, while the Bulldogs picked up 10, led by senior captain JK Poirier (Coatesville, Pa.). Waldt made five stops in his eighth victory of the year, while Spider netminder Benny Pugh (2-6) stopped 11 despite the loss.
The Bulldogs return to Northeast Conference play for their next four outings, next taking on Sacred Heart in a Wednesday night matchup in Fairfield, Conn. (7 p.m.).
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