March 13, 2014

Morning Jac: Small College Midweek Notebook

by Jac Coyne | | Coyne Archive | Twitter

Sal Tuttle (above) scored two goals and dished out an assist, leading Adelphi to an 11-7 victory over LIU Post. It was an important victory for the Panthers, but the contest didn't end in perfect fasion. (Brian Ballweg)

Sitting in his office on Wednesday recounting No. 2 Adelphi's 11-7 win over rival and third-ranked LIU Post the day before, Gordon Purdie took on a bittersweet tone. The emotions following the win ran the spectrum.

As far as the victory's impact on the postseason, this win was huge. Post will undoubtedly be one of the top teams in the ECC, and every win the Pioneers pick up from here on out is like penny in the Panthers' criteria piggy bank.

In addition, beating LIU Post specifically is a singular achievement. Purdie talked about how the alums and school administrators revel in beating the Pioneers, and Purdie even made a point of mentioning how the Panthers have defeated Post in 41 of the 61 meetings all-time in the post-game press release.

"I spoke before the game about the many opportunities Adelphi has had to play this school and these guys are going to talk about that win for many years," Purdie said of downing LIU Post. "That includes myself, looking back at my experience playing Post. Although it is just another win for us, it is a huge win because they will never forget. They focused on that game for a long time. We set up two games down south to get ready for the Post game."

With all of those good vibes, there was still a nagging issue of which Purdie couldn't let go.

Adelphi took control of the game early, racing out to a 7-0 lead and a 7-1 advantage at halftime. The lead was still 10-3 with under six minutes left in the contest, and the outcome was never really in doubt. But Post made a run. The Pioneers scored four goals in the final 5:57 to cut the final margin to 11-7.

No big deal, right?

"Truly, that let down at the end was tough to swallow for me," Purdie admitted.

"There can be no letdown," he continued. "We have to work harder and we have to be more consistent. As the season rolls along, the seniors are carrying that flag to ensure that we play as hard as we can and as well as we can, and finish out the game. As good as the win [Tuesday] was, we took away that we still need to work harder and play for the full 60 minutes. And not 55."

As frustrated as Purdie was with the way the win was completed, he was buoyed by the play of Connor Duddy, a transfer from Stony Brook who didn't have a point in the first two games before burying a hat trick against LIU Post.

"Connor didn't play as well as he could have on the trip down south, so he switched to a different stick," Purdie said. "That probably had something to do with it as he started getting some confidence. He is a very talented player and another good transfer for us. All of the players who scored for us were transfers."

Adelphi now starts a string of 10-consecutive Northeast-10 games, includling showdowns with Le Moyne and Merrimack in April. It begins on Saturday against St. Anselm, against which the Panthers needed two goals in the fine three minutes to take a 9-8 win last spring. "We did not do well against them last year," Purdie said.

Perhaps a convincing victory over the Hawks will help Adelphi feel better about the Post win.

Union Avoids Moral Victory

In the season-opener against Cortland, Union had a chance. The unranked Dutchmen were tied with No. 4 Red Dragons with under three minutes to play and flirting with one of the signature upsets of the season. Alas, Cortland pulled out the 7-6 victory.

Rob Santangelo scored a goal and dished out an assist in the fourth quarter, helping Union defeat No. 12 Wesleyan, 7-5, and avoid another moral victory like the season-opener against Cortland. (Carol Andrews)

It was an promising showing for Union, which is trying to make it back to the NCAA tournament after missing a bid last spring. It was a moral victory, if you will.

Dutchmen head coach Paul Wehrum doesn't want to hear it.

"I'm not a real big believer in moral victories. I learn a lot more from close wins," said Wehrum after Union stunned No. 12 Wesleyan on Wednesday afternoon, 7-5.

The win harkened back to the 2011 and '12 seasons when the Dutchmen made their first two appearances in the NCAA tournament with a blend of opportunistic offense and superb goaltending.

Senior Rob Santangelo took care of the offensive angle. Clinging to a 5-3 lead midway through the fourth quarter, Santangelo scored a goal to push the lead to three. Just 17 seconds later, he fed Richard Gregory for a goal that ballooned the advantage to four with 6:11 left, essentially sealing the game.

"He's a four-year starter and captain and he pretty much took over the game in the fourth quarter," Wehrum said of Santangelo. "He was shooting, feeding, getting ground balls."

Stefan Basile is filling the goaltending role nicely. A former understudy of All-American Sean Aaron, Basile made nine saves and kept Wesleyan guessing the entire contest. To the point where Wehrum was reminded of his former netminder.

"Stefan is very similar to Sean," he said. "Unbelievably quick. He has been a fantastic leader not just on the defensive end, but with the entire team. He is as good as advertised, for sure."

Now that Union has traded in moral victories for close wins, what does it mean?

"We're close to being one of the top teams in the country," Wehrum said. "We've got great individual players, but they've got to play great as a team. Sometimes when you lose a close game like Cortland, it can be deflating. This time, we used it as a learning experience and it toughed us up a little bit."

Slides & Rides

There won't be much time for Union to savor the win over Wesleyan with No. 9 Springfield coming to Schenectady on Saturday. The teams are familiar with each other after the Dutchmen beat the Pride, 7-4, in 2013.

"They didn't lose much from last year, so we are familiar with what they do," Wehrum said. "It's two tough, physical teams and one team will walk away a winner. Keith [Bugbee] is a great coach and they are in the NCAAs almost every year. Hopefully we'll benefit from what we learned today. If my team is going to be as good as it can be in the first game of the season, I'm not a good coach. We hope to get better and better every game and every week."

NCAA Division II: Florida Tech is snake-bitten in overtime. The Panthers lost their third consecutive overtime game when Catawba took them down, 12-11 on Monday. They'll try to break the string on Friday against conference foe Saint Leo...on the flip side, Catawba won its second straight extra time game on Wednesday by dowing Rollins, 9-8, in OT...congrats to Brian Kingsbury and Lynn for picking up the first win in program history, a 15-3 victory over Lees-McRae on Tuesday.

Tucker Hammock scored seven goals and set up an eighth, leading No. 11 Pfeiffer over No. 15 Dominican (Calif.), 21-13...Mercy's Jesse Wood is nearly unstoppable right now. He scored another six goals and dished out an assist in the Mavs win over Saint Rose, giving the junior 24 goals and 16 assists in six games (6.7 ppg)...Assumption's Garrett Smith also went 7-1-8 against Post (Conn.).

NCAA Division III: The clash between No. 1 RIT and No. 4 Cortland in the Carrier Dome scheduled for Wednesday evening was pushed back to tonight (Thursday) because of inclement weather. Game is slated for 6 p.m...Vassar senior Max Herman became the school's all-time leader in points after scoring four goals and dishing out two assists against SUNY Cobleskill. He now has 105 points...junior Josh Green tied the Hanover school record for goals in a game with eight against Mt. St. Joseph on Monday...Wednesday's Otterbein-Adrian game was cancelled, which could hurt Otterbein's Pool B resume...Haverford finally picked up its first victory, taking down Mt. St. Mary.

Tufts will put its 21.3 goals per game output up against Colby this weekend after roasting Stevens, 23-12, on Tuesday...Amherst mauled a good Eastern Conn. team, 17-1. Quinn Moroney with a goal and seven dimes...Williams is only two wins away from matching its 2013 output...Kean kept Marymount from setting the best start in school history by handing the Saint their first loss, 10-3...Mary Washington is now 6-0 after holding off Washington & Lee, 7-6. Griffin Burke scored with 44 ticks left to win it for the Eagles...Cabrini mauled Gettysburg, 17-5. Corey Elmer scored five goals and dished out three dimes. The Cavaliers get Nazareth on Saturday.

Speaking of Naz, the Flyers posted a needed victory with a 14-11 triumph over No. 17 Bowdoin. The starting attack unit of Troy & Trevar Haefele and Luke Wooters combined for 17 points in the win...No. 14 Ithaca downed No. 18 St. Lawrence, 7-6, in Tampa...Roanoke needed overtime to beat Centre, 9-8. The Maroons beat the Colonels, 21-4 in last year's NCAA tournament...Ursinus entered the Montclair State game having allowed eight goals in three games. The Red Hawks more than doubled that in an 18-11 victory over the Bears.

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