LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — With major MAAC playoff implications hanging in the balance, Siena Men’s Lacrosse rose to the challenge and knocked off Mount St. Mary’s 13-12 with a stirring second-half performance in front of a raucous Hickey Field crowd on Saturday afternoon to lock down a postseason berth for a third straight season. 

The Saints (7-6, 5-4 MAAC) trailed 6-4 at the break, but were uplifted by a spirited defensive effort and a cavalcade of seven straight Siena goals by graduate students Zac Schuette and Christian Watts to grab the lead and not let go. 

Clinging to a one-goal lead, the Mountaineers (8-7, 7-2 MAAC) had an opportune moment to tie it in the closing seconds with a man-up advantage but were thwarted by an alert Siena defense that knocked the ball loose as time expired. 

The Saints have now beaten the top two seeded teams in the MAAC over the past two weekends, winning at Manhattan 10-6 last Saturday, and now against Mount St. Mary’s. 

Entering play on Saturday, there was a four-way tie for teams in fourth place between Siena, Sacred Heart, Quinnipiac, and LIU with only the top six qualifying for the postseason.  With Quinnipiac beating LIU 19-13 and Sacred Heart defeating Canisius 15-8 earlier in the day, the pressure was on the Saints to win to make the postseason cut.  If they didn’t, they would find themselves on the outside of the playoffs.    

Instead, the win provides Siena with home-field advantage as the No. 4 seed in an opening round match-up against No. 5 Sacred Heart.  The Saints and Pioneers will play on Saturday at Hickey Field with a time to be determined.

With three teams tied at 5-4 in conference play and each team holding a 1-1 record in a mini-conference against one another during the season, the tie was broken via Siena’s wins against teams that occupied the highest positions in the league.  The Saints beat both Manhattan (6-2 in MAAC play entering today) and Mount St. Mary’s (7-2 MAAC).

Schuette (four goals and one assist) and sophomore attack Ryan McCarthy (two goals, three assists) led the Saints with five points apiece while Watts added four points (three goals and one assist).  George Rusnak was a big facilitator on the day with a team-high four assists. 

Despite winning just five of 28 face-offs, Siena overcame it by winning the turnover battle (18-12) and keeping it close in shot opportunities.  The Mountaineers held just slight advantages in shots (47-41) and 25-23 for shots on target. 

Freshman R.J. Ihlefeld led the defense with six ground balls. Fifth-year goalkeeper Christopher Yanchoris made 13 saves including several acrobatic moves to make stops and now needs 13 more saves to reach 500 in his career.