BROOKVILLE, N.Y. – The nationally-ranked Saint Anselm College men's lacrosse team was handed a 15-10 defeat in its season-opening game on Saturday, falling to the Pioneers from Long Island University-Post at Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium.
The Hawks, ranked 11th in NCAA Division II by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association, fall to 0-1 while the Pioneers, ranked sixth in the country, improve to 2-0 after defeating both the Hawks and American International to begin their campaign.
Senior Anthony Busconi (Watertown, Mass.) had a team-leading three goals, followed by two-goal performances by sophomore Matt Ward (Shrewsbury, Mass.), classmate Sean Tomaszewski (Arlington, Mass.) and senior Xavier Quinn (Rye, N.H.). Senior Patrick Sweeney (North Andover, Mass.) rounded out the scoring, finding the back of the net once to extend his point streak to 21 straight games.
LIU Post captured a 1-0 lead only 31 seconds into regulation time and never looked back, opening up a commanding 7-1 lead in just under 18 minutes of game play. Saint Anselm concluded the first half with three-straight goals, trailing by a 7-4 margin at halftime despite losing all but one of the first 12 face-offs of the contest.
Quinn opened the third quarter with his second goal of the game, extending the Hawks' scoring run to four straight goals. Back-to-back goals by LIU Post were matched by two-straight strikes by the Hawks in the third quarter, keeping the game within reach at 9-7 with 9:45 to go in the stanza.
After the Pioneers captured a 10-7 lead, Tomaszewski and Ward brought their team back to within one goal, 10-9, with 18:42 to go in regulation time. The Hawks were unable to close the gap, yielding the game's next four goals and ultimately falling by a five-goal margin on the road.
The Hawks held the 44-to-39 edge in shots and saw LIU Post commit 28 turnovers, but Saint Anselm lost all but three of the game's 28 face-offs. Connor Farrell was 25-for-28 at the "X", picking up a game-high 24 ground balls.
Senior Nick Richard (Hampstead, N.H.) drew the loss for Saint Anselm, making nine saves on 24 shots. LIU Post was led by a five-point performance (4-1=5) by Jake Gillis and an 18-save performance by netminder Bryan Ochs.
Saint Anselm hosts Adelphi on Saturday, Mar. 16 at high noon. The Panthers are currently ranked second in all of NCAA Division II.