Montclair, NJ (5/2/09) – Three hundred and sixty four days later the outcome was a lot better for Montclair State.
Nearly a year to the day of one of its most heartbreaking losses in program history, the Red Hawk men’s lacrosse team erased all of that as top-seeded MSU edged Kean University, 7-6 to capture the Skyline Conference Championship at Sprague Field on Saturday afternoon.
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Sophomore Robert Glander (Vernon, NJ / Vernon Township) scored what turned out to be the decisive game-winner with 10:32 to play as Montclair State won its first conference championship since 1995 when they competed in the Knickerbocker Conference.
Freshman attack Tyler Meth (Basking Ridge, NJ / Ridge) scored a pair of goals and was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament as MSU also claimed the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament, the Red Hawks first trip to the NCAAs. The full bracket will be announced on Monday, May 4.
Junior Anthony Bertucci (Edison, N.J.) scored three goals for the Cougars (12-7), while junior goalkeeper John Gesumaria (Cranford, N.J.) made 13 saves, as Kean played in its third straight game with a 7-6 score. The Cougars had advanced to the title game after scoring twice in the final 31 seconds for a one-goal win at Richard Stockton in the semifinals.
In 2008, the third-seeded Cougars upended No. 1 seed Montclair State in the championship game at Sprague Field as Kean scored the final three goals, including the game-winner with 57 seconds remaining in an 8-7 win. The setting would be the same again today, however this time it would be Montclair who would come out on top this time.
The Red Hawks got on the board first, taking a 1-0 lead when senior midfielder John Schiavone (Montclair, N.J.) scored off the assist from sophomore Robert Sinicola (North Caldwell, N.J.) just over three minutes into the game.
Kean answered with three straight goals, as sophomore Mike Terry (Maplewood, N.J.) tied the game with an unassisted goal with 8:09 remaining in the first quarter. Bertucci then followed with back-to-back goals just 66 seconds apart to give the Cougars a 3-1 lead in the opening quarter.
Meth opened the second quarter with an unassisted goal less than three minutes in to cut the Kean lead to 3-2, before Sinicola tied the game at 3-3, scoring off the assist from junior midfielder Taylor Bonner (Old Bridge, N.J.) with 10:34 remaining in the quarter.
The Cougars regained the lead less than a minute later when Bertucci netted his third straight goal for Kean to give the Cougars the 4-3 lead at halftime.
After both teams scored a pair of goals in the third quarter, Montclair State took advantage of a Cougar penalty minutes into the fourth quarter to even things up, when sophomore midfielder Corsetto one-timed a pass from senior attack Tyler Meixner (Hamburg, N.J.) to tie the game at 6-6 with 12:17 to go in the game.
The Red Hawks scored again just 45 second later with what would be the final goal of the game, as Glander netted the game-winner off the pass from Corsetto with 10:32 remaining.
Montclair State controlled possession of the ball for a majority of the final minutes, however the Cougars regained the ball with just 18 seconds remaining and had the ball on their offensive end of the field with seven seconds to go, however a shot by junior CJ Gannon (Morris Plains, N.J.) sailed wide with two ticks left.
Goalkeeper Thomas Bowers (Hamburg, NJ / Pope John XXIII) intercepted a final pass to seal the win as the Red Hawks stormed the field in celebration.
Bowers finished with eight saves for Montclair State, which outshot Kean 38-22, including 26-6 over the final 30 minutes. Glander added a team-high four ground balls while Sinicola and Patrick Ferry (Clifton, NJ / Clifton) each recorded two caused turnovers.
Andrew Rau (Fair Lawn, NJ / Fair Lawn) was 7-of-8 on faceoffs for Kean and added four ground balls as did Chris Masiulis (Ellicott City, MD / Howard).