MANCHESTER, N.H. – The No. 16-ranked Saint Anselm College men's lacrosse team outscored No. 14 LIU Post by an 8-2 margin in the second half to record its sixth-straight victory, 15-7, in a non-conference, top-20 matchup on Tuesday afternoon at Grappone Stadium.
Saint Anselm (9-3) raced out to a 4-0 lead after less than 10 minutes and led 7-1 early in the second quarter, before LIU Post (8-4) finished the half with four consecutive goals to get within two, 7-5, at the break. After the Pioneers got within a goal with the opening tally of the second half, the Hawks rattled off eight of the game's final nine goals to pull away for their second win over a nationally-ranked team this season.
The two teams were meeting for just the third time and the first since 2014. All three meetings have been decided by at least eight goals, with the Hawks claiming their first victory over the Pioneers with the eight-goal win. Since a 3-3 start to the season, Saint Anselm has won its last six games, all by at least five goals. The six consecutive wins are the longest winning streak in a single season for Saint Anselm since the 2012 team won eight-straight contests from Feb. 27 – Apr. 10.
Junior Anthony Busconi matched his career high with five goals and also added an assist to pace the Hawks' offense. Senior Ryan Hesseltine tallied five assists in addition to scoring once, junior Patrick Sweeney registered three goals and an assist and freshman Matt Ward added a hat trick of his own. Freshman Ryan Richards had a career-high three points on two goals and one assist.
Newly-anointed Northeast-10 Conference Goalkeeper of the Week Nick Richard earned the victory with a nine-save performance. Against one of the top faceoff guys in the country in LIU Post's Connor Farrell, freshman Ryan Melley won six-of-16 faceoffs, grabbed four ground balls and handed out an assist for his first-career point.
Saint Anselm netted the game's first four goals over the opening 9:51 of the game with Hesseltine recording an assist on all four goals, two of which came from Busconi. Leading 4-1 after one quarter, the Hawks extended their lead to 7-1 with the first three goals of the second quarter, only for the Pioneers to fight back. William Snelders scored three-straight goals and set up another as LIU Post closed the half on a 4-0 run.
After Dylan Harned started the second half's scoring, Richards assisted on a Ward goal and scored one of his own to give the Hawks a 9-6 cushion late in the third. Following Snelders' fourth goal of the game, Melley won the faceoff and threw it ahead to Ward for a goal with 52 seconds left in the third and Busconi scored with 6.5 seconds to go in the quarter to send the Hawks to the fourth up 11-7. Saint Anselm held LIU Post scoreless over the final quarter and Busconi scored two of his team's four goals in the final 15 minutes to end any thought of a Pioneer rally.
Snelders provided most of the offense for LIU Post, scoring four goals and handing out one assist, but also committed four turnovers. Thomas Liantonio had three assists, while Harned netted a pair of goals for the visitors. Farrell went 18-for-26 on faceoffs and grabbed nine ground balls. Goaltender Bryan Ochs finished with seven saves but took the loss.
LIU Post committed twice as many turnovers as Saint Anselm, 20-10, but won 18-of-26 faceoffs thanks to Farrell's efforts. The Pioneers also held a 27-20 advantage in ground balls but were 0-for-4 on man-up opportunities.
With a berth in the NE10 Championship already secured, Saint Anselm closes its regular season slate with a trip to Saint Rose for a 3 p.m. game on Saturday, Apr. 28.