PREVIEW: No. 17 men's lacrosse to play Le Moyne in NE10 Semifinals showdown

MANCHESTER, N.H. – After its convincing victory over the College of Saint Rose in the First Round of the Northeast-10 Conference postseason, the nationally-ranked Saint Anselm College men's lacrosse team has its sights set on an NE10 Semifinals victory.

The Hawks, ranked 17th in NCAA Division II by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association, will travel to Syracuse, N.Y. to take on the nation's top-ranked team, Le Moyne College, this Friday, May 4 at 12 p.m. The winner of Friday's game will advance to the NE10 Championship on Sunday, May 6 at 1 p.m.

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Saint Anselm enters play with a 10-4 overall record after recording a 7-4 record against league opponents during the regular season. The Hawks have already set a program record for wins against NCAA Division II opponents in one season and are one win away from tying the team record for overall wins in a season (11, 1999 and 2002).

LAST TIME OUT: On Tuesday, the Hawks posted their first NE10 postseason victory since the 2009 season, having defeated the Golden Knights by a 19-9 margin on Tuesday in Albany.

Junior Patrick Sweeney set the pace for the Hawks, scoring six goals and adding an assist for seven points (6-1=7) to tie a career-high mark. Freshman Matt Ward potted three goals and two assists while junior Anthony Busconi and senior Ryan Hesseltine each scored two goals for the Hawks.

In total, 11 Hawks registered at least one point in the convincing victory. Freshmen Griffin Shoemaker and Sean Tomaszewski each recorded a goal and one assist while junior Teo Olsen joined freshman Ryan Richards with a goal and two helpers. Tyler DuBien and Thomas Mapstone each cashed in with a goal. Senior Aaron Palys had one assist.

The Hawks matched a season-high mark with 12 caused turnovers as junior Chris Tully forced Saint Rose into four miscues. Senior John Maginnis and Olsen each had two as the defensive unit also contributed to the Hawks holding a 43-to-40 edge in ground balls.

Ward and Sweeney scored back-to-back goals to open the first quarter, but Saint Rose countered with two strikes within nine seconds to even the score at two. The Hawks closed the first quarter with unassisted goals from Busconi and Sweeney, carrying the visitors to a 4-2 lead after the first 15 minutes.

Leading by a 7-4 margin out of halftime, three quick goals for the Hawks out of the break ended any chance of a Saint Rose comeback as a whopping eight goals were put home by Saint Anselm in the third quarter. In total, the Hawks poured home 12 second-half goals and limited the hosts to only five tallies in the final 30 minutes of action.

Nick Richard made a career-high 16 saves for Saint Anselm, allowing only nine goals before CJ Hart played the final 45 seconds for the Hawks. Liam Guiton, one of the nation's top backstops, yielded 19 goals on 33 shots to draw the loss.

LAST TIME OUT vs. LE MOYNE: Sweeney's two goals led the Hawks while Xavier Quinn potted the other Saint Anselm goal in a narrow 8-3 loss to the Dolphins on Mar. 31. Tully led the defense with two caused turnovers and Sweeney joined freshman Ryan Melley with three ground balls on the day.

Saint Anselm took the early 1-0 lead with Sweeney's first goal of the day only 1:27 into the contest. The Hawks, however, could not gain any offensive momentum after failing on four clears in the first 15 minutes alone. Le Moyne took advantage of the Hawks miscues, scoring three-straight goals to capture a 3-1 lead.

Sweeney put home another unassisted tally in the second quarter, shrinking the Le Moyne lead to 3-2 with 7:50 left in the first half, but Dan Entenmann scored with 50 seconds left on the clock to lift his team to a 4-2 halftime lead. The Dolphins fired 25 shots in the first 30 minutes, limiting the Hawks to only 13.

Le Moyne blanked the Hawks in the third quarter, scoring two goals while keeping Saint Anselm off the scoreboard to carry a 6-2 lead into the fourth quarter. Quinn struck for his team's third goal only 1:21 into the fourth, but back-to-back markers from the Dolphins were added insurance down the stretch.

Richard made 12 saves for Saint Anselm, drawing the loss. Kyle Lumpe moved to 2-0 on the year for Le Moyne, matching Richard save-for-save with 12 of his own.

Eight scorers paced Le Moyne to the victory – Justin Kesselring and Matt Hutchings scored one goal and an assist. Zac Prattson and Kendall Vecchio each had four ground balls and Entenmann had two caused turnovers.

SCOUTING SAINT ANSELM

  • The Hawks are averaging 13.29 goals per game in 2018, the most in a single season in team history
  • With a .582 combined team save percentage, the Hawks rank third in the league behind Le Moyne (.620) and Saint Rose (.587)
  • Saint Anselm's 38.2% man-up percentage is tied for second among NE10 schools (Merrimack), trailing Franklin Pierce (43.2%)
  • The team's 43.64 shots per game stand as the second-most in a single season in program history
  • With a monster game against Saint Rose to open the point scoring, Sweeney crossed the 100-career point mark and has scored 78 goals and 25 assists for 103 points (78-25=103)
  • Hesseltine has had a breakout season for the Hawks, scoring 24 goals and 22 assists for 46 points (24-22=46) – he entered his junior campaign with 23 goals and 10 assists for 33 points (23-10=33) across two complete seasons
  • Hesseltine ranks fifth in the NE10 with 22 assists
  • Busconi has set single-season personal bests in goals scored (34) and points scored (34-13=47) – his six man-up goals in 2018 are the sixth-most in a single season by a Hawks student-athlete
  • Ward has led the Hawks freshmen in goal scoring (30), scoring just over two goals per game while handing out 16 assists – he has recorded five points in a game in each of his last two contests
  • Senior Derrick LaBranche leads the NE10 in caused turnovers with 26 to his credit
  • Only playing in five career games entering the 2018 season, Richard has posted 136 saves this year en route to a 10-4 record in goal for the Hawks – he has averaged 8.40 goals-against across just over 714 minutes
  • Richard's .576 save percentage is eighth in NCAA Division II
  • The Hawks commit, on average, 13.14 turnovers per game which is the fifth-best mark in the nation

SCOUTING LE MOYNE

  • The Dolphins remain the only team in NCAA Division II that has not lost a game this season (15-0) - Le Moyne has lost no more than three games in a season since the 2000 season
  • The Dolphins have won the last two NE10 Championships, winning an NCAA Division II national title as recently as the 2016 season – Le Moyne has won five national championships since 2004
  • Le Moyne leads the nation in scoring defense (5.93) while ranking fourth in scoring margin (7.87)
  • Vecchio is 13th nationally with a .626 face-off winning percentage
  • Devin Andrews has handed out an average of 1.67 assists per game, ranking fourth in the NE10 and 16th nationally – Kesselring joins Andrews in the NE10's top-five in assists
  • Prattson has forced opponents into 20 miscues, ranking fourth in the NE10 entering Friday's tilt
  • Kesselring is third in the NE10 in goal scoring (39)
  • Backstop Jack Sweeney, who did not play against Saint Anselm in the regular-season meeting between both teams, leads the conference in save percentage (.669)
  • Last time out, the Dolphins allowed 10 goals to Southern New Hampshire, the most in a single game that Le Moyne has yielded this season

NE10 POSTSEASON ALL-TIME: The Hawks are now 3-12 all-time in the NE10 Tournament, having won the team's first NE10 postseason game since 2009 on Tuesday. Saint Anselm has qualified for postseason play in all but one year since 2012. Le Moyne is 2-0 against the Hawks since the first-ever postseason meeting between both teams in the 2009 NE10 Semifinals.

THE SCIAMANNA FILE: Third year Head Coach Mike Sciamanna has guided the Hawks to a 26-16 record since his debut during the 2015 season, piloting the Hawks to three-straight NE10 postseason appearances. Assuming the reins of a program that won only two games in 2015, Sciamanna recorded back-to-back eight win seasons in 2016 and 2017 and saw the start of his team's recognition on the national level. In 2018, the Hawks entered the year ranked in several preseason coaches' polls and ranked as high as 16th in NCAA Division II this season.

ALL-TIME vs. LE MOYNE: The Dolphins are a perfect 24-0 all-time against Saint Anselm since the first-ever meeting on Apr. 27, 1997. The closest game in the series occurred on Apr. 30, 2010, a narrow 8-7 victory for the visiting Dolphins. Last season, the Hawks and Dolphins played to a 10-7 result in Syracuse on Apr. 9, 2016.