BRONX, N.Y. (NEWS10) — When the game got tight, the Siena Men’s Lacrosse team kept fighting and found answers when they needed them as several players came up with big plays down the stretch as the Saints used a five-goal fourth quarter to defeat top-seeded Manhattan 11-8 at Gaelic Park on Thursday night to advance to the MAAC Championship Game for the first time since 2014.

After Siena led 6-3 at the break, the Jaspers (10-5) were able to knot the score at 6-6 heading into the final stanza. 

The fourth quarter belonged to the Saints as Siena got two goals from graduate student Rocco Santillo, and one each from sophomore Pratt Reynolds, freshman R.J. Ihlefeld and graduate student Christian Watts to help send head coach Liam Gleason to his first MAAC Championship game. 

It came with plenty of drama though as the game featured a rollercoaster of emotions.  The Saints (9-6) got themselves in-and-out of danger by committing three penalties in the fourth quarter that gave Manhattan man-up scoring opportunities, but each time Siena was up for the challenge and extinguished the Jaspers opportune chances. 

And, in net, Saints goalkeeper Christopher Yanchoris made several key stops with five of his 12 saves in the final quarter to help close it out.  The graduate student also became the sixth player in program history to reach the 500 career saves milestone in the process. 

Manhattan tied the score at 7-7 with 14:00 remaining on a goal by Tadhg O’Riordan, but Reynolds answered back in under a minute for the Saints on a feed from Ryan McCarthy.

Ihlefeld, the long stick midfielder from Fairfield, CT, picked up a ground ball and ran it in for his first career goal to make it 9-7 with 12:49 left.  Quinn Bowler cut it to back to one on an assist from Scott O’Connor, but that would be the last of the scoring for the Jaspers as the Saints kept them off the board for the final 10:47 of the game.

Santillo completed his first career hat trick on a pass from Mark Cummings with 6:22 on the board and Watts added an insurance goal with 5:08 left. 

Santillo, the midfielder from Rochester, NY, has emerged as a serious postseason scoring threat of late with six points in the past two games. He finished with three goals and one assist, Reynolds registered his seventh hat trick this season and Andrew Rooney had a star-studded defensive performance with team-highs of five caused turnovers and five ground balls. 

While Manhattan held a 38-33 shots advantage, the shots on goal were even at 20 apiece. The Saints benefited from being plus seven in the turnover margin.

Siena will play third-seeded Marist (9-7) in the MAAC Championship on Saturday at 11 a.m. on ESPNU at Gaelic Park.  The Red Foxes defeated #2 Mount St. Mary’s 19-7 on Thursday. 

 Photo attached: Pratt Reynolds had his seventh hat trick of the season in helping the Siena Men’s Lacrosse reach the MAAC Championship Game for the first time since 2014 with a 11-8 win at top-seeded Manhattan on Thursday night.