April 26, 2014

LIU Post Stuns No. 5 Dowling

from press release

BROOKVILLE, N.Y. - The 15th-ranked LIU Post men's lacrosse team closed out the regular season on a high note Saturday, stunning No. 5 Dowling, 9-6, in an East Coast Conference clash at Hickox Field in Brookville, N.Y.

The Pioneers (7-5, 6-2 ECC) got out to a fast start, scoring three goals in a minute to take a 3-0 lead with 12:54 to go. Junior midfielder Connor Drost (Wading River, N.Y.) and sophomore attackman Ryan Slane (North Babylon, N.Y.) netted unassisted tallies in a 49-second stint. Senior midfielder Dom Mantovani (West Babylon, N.Y.) capped off the spurt with his first collegiate tally.

The Golden Lions (11-3, 7-1 ECC) fired right back though, notching three unanswered markers of their own to even the score. Senior midfielder Tom Cleary (Comsewogue, N.Y.), senior attacker Kevin McElhone (Setauket, N.Y.) and sophomore midfielder Brian White (Bayport, N.Y.) accounted for the goals.

Early In the second quarter, junior attackman Chris Caiazza (Linenhurst, N.Y.) and sophomore attackman Matty Beccaris (North Babylon, N.Y.) found the back of the cage less than a minute apart to put the green and gold ahead 5-3. Beccaris scored a shorthanded goal in transition, while Caiazza struck off a feed from Drost. LIU Post would eventually carry a slight 5-4 advantage into the break.

Out of the half, Dowling freshman attackman Chris Stemke (Selden, N.Y.) put back a rebound, despite a diving save attempt from graduate goalie T.J. DiCarlo (Farmingdale, N.Y.), to tie the contest at the 9:31 mark. The Pioneers responded again, however, as a man-up tally from Beccaris sparked a three-goal run that gave the hosts an 8-5 cushion late in the third quarter.

Yet, the visitors capitalized on a key Pioneer miscue in the defensive zone just seconds after that run ended to close the gap to 8-6. Stemke intercepted a Robbie Chiocco (Massapequa, N.Y.) pass, and fed Matt Crough (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada) for the goal.

In the final 15-minute session, Dowling still trailed by a pair, until it appeared that the Golden Lions had scored to cut the deficit to 8-7 with over seven minutes left. But, the referees disallowed it, as Kody TeKanawa (Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada) was flagged for an illegal penalty return.

That reverted the momentum back to LIU Post, and Caiazza made the opposition pay. Under a minute later, he beat Frank Sommers (Brookhaven, N.Y.) on a bounce shot to the far side, giving the Pioneers a 9-6 edge. That proved to be all the green and gold needed, as they kept Dowling off the board for the remainder of the game.

Overall, the Pioneers won both the shot (41-26) and faceoff (11-19) battles. They were also 14-of-19 (73.6 percent) on clears. Between the pipes, DiCarlo had a game-high 10 saves for LIU Post. Sommers stopped eight shots for Dowling.

Head Coach John Jez and the Pioneers have clinched the No. 3 seed in next week's East Coast Conference Championship. They will square off with second-seeded NYIT in a semifinal match-up on Wednesday (Apr. 30) at President's Stadium in Old Westbury, N.Y. The opening faceoff is set for 3 p.m.

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