LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — From a barn-burning scoring fest in the opening period to a hardened defensive second half, Siena and Sacred Heart played in a competitive back-and forth-game in which the fourth-seeded Saints were able to outwork the fifth-seeded Pioneers on their way to a 13-11 Opening Round MAAC Tournament playoff win at Hickey Field on Saturday afternoon.
It marks the first MAAC postseason victory for Siena Men’s Lacrosse since the 2014 season when the Saints also last won the MAAC Championship. The win also coincides with head coach Liam Gleason’s first MAAC postseason victory since taking the reins of the Green and Gold in 2019 as well as the first MAAC Tournament home game played at Hickey Field.
Sophomore attack Pratt Reynolds was key throughout the afternoon in stopping the Pioneers’ momentum by scoring four of his game-high five goals following a goal that was scored by SHU. Reynolds scored a goal in both the first and second quarters before scoring twice in the third quarter and then added another in the fourth quarter to tie the program record for most goals scored in a MAAC postseason game with three others.
The Manlius, NY native’s performance draws him even with the likes of Jack Kiernan (4/30/2021 vs. Monmouth), Colin Clive (5/6/2011 vs. Jacksonville) and Danny Martinsen (5/6/2022 vs. Jacksonville), who all scored five goals in a single playoff game.
But, he wasn’t alone in the scoring efforts as six other Saints would score on this day. Sophomore Ryan McCarthy and graduate student Zac Schuette each tallied two goals and one assist, graduate students Christian Watts and Rocco Santillo added one goal and one assist apiece while senior Dylan Pape and graduate student George Rusnak also scored.
For a second straight week, the Saints (8-6) trailed early and mounted a comeback. Last Saturday, it trailed 8-6 at the break against Mount St. Mary’s before rallying for a 13-12 victory.
SHU (5-10) gained a 7-5 advantage after the first 15 minutes of play, but the Saints’ defense tightened it up and allowed just four goals in the final 45 minutes of play.
Morgan O’Reilly led the Pioneers with four goals and Michael Moreschi scored twice, but only of their six total scores occurred after the first quarter.
Schuette locked the game at 7-7 with 13:13 remaining in the second quarter for the game’s fourth tie. Rusnak provided Siena with an 8-7 lead just one minute and one second later for the lead that they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.
Siena would maintain a lead that would fluctuate between one and three goals for the balance of the game from that point forward.
Reynolds answered back in three instances, scoring after SHU’s Johnny Morgan with 12:41 left in the third, again at the 10:52 mark after an O’Reilly goal and another with 14:48 left in the fourth quarter following another score by O’Reilly.
Siena turned their fate completely around as far as faceoffs were concerned.
A week after winning just five of 28 face offs, Siena won 18 of 26 in that department courtesy in large part to the job that Pape did in winning 16 of 24 opportunities. Sean Miller won both of his face offs as well.
The Saints also showed out in the hustle stats by gaining a 33-21 advantage in ground balls and outshot the Pioneers 46-24.
Pape also led the team in ground balls with eight.
The defense was led by All-MAAC First selection Trevor Marsala and All-MAAC Second Team selection Brian Mack, who each had three caused turnovers.
Siena will await their next opponent in the MAAC Semifinals on the campus of Manhattan in Riverdale, NY, this Thursday, May 4 with a time to be determined against either No. 1 Manhattan or No. 2 Mount St. Mary’s.
The match up will be determined by the outcome of tonight’s No. 3 Marist/No. 6 Quinnipiac game that starts at 7 p.m.
Photo attached: Sophomore attack Pratt Reynolds tied a program record for most goals scored in a MAAC Tournament postseason game with five goals in fourth-seeded Siena’s 13-11 MAAC Opening Round victory over No. 5 Sacred Heart.