Hoboken, NJ (5/11/11) – The Montclair State men's lacrosse team fell short in their bid for an NCAA Tournament victory as the Red Hawks season came to a close with a hard-fought 9-7 loss to eighth-ranked Stevens in the first round of the national tournament at the DeBaun Athletic Complex on Wednesday evening.
Senior Robert Sinicola (North Caldwell, NJ / West Essex) had three goals and three assists in his final game as the Red Hawks had their seven-game winning streak snapped and finished the year at 10-7. Montclair had not lost since a 9-6 defeat at Farmingdale State on April 6. MSU, which was making its third straight NCAA appearance, got two goals from Matthew Prongay (Edison, NJ / Edison) and five caused turnovers from senior Anthony Dzienkiewicz (Jackson, NJ / Jackson Memorial).
This was the second meeting between the two in-state rivals this season as Stevens posted a 16-5 win in Hoboken. Like the teams’ first meeting on March 23, the Ducks jumped on top early but that would be the only similarity as the Red Hawks hung tough the whole way, never allowing Stevens to take more than a three-goal lead.
After Empire 8 Rookie of the Year Christian Saley (Montville, N.J.) put the Ducks up 1-0 1:39 into the action, Prongay (pulled MSU even with an unassisted tally with 12:08 left in the first. Chris Laurita answered with his first of the game with 6:17 remaining in the period, and sophomore midfielder Nicolas Philippi (Mullica Hill, N.J.) rang the bell with 55 seconds on the board to send the Ducks to the second with a 3-1 lead.
Montclair would outscore Stevens 2-1 in quarter number two with Sinicola scoring both Red Hawk goals and senior midfielder Brandon Faubert (Virginia Beach, Va.) tallying Stevens’ lone goal.
The Ducks would not score again for more than 14 minutes, which was enough time for the Red Hawks to tie the score as Tyler Meth (Basking Ridge, NJ / Ridge) scored off an assist from Sinicola. When Stevens did break its scoring drought, it was able to tally the game’s next three goals to open up a 7-4 lead with 2:16 left in the third quarter. Junior Alex Hofrichter (Terrance Park, Ohio) finished off a pretty look from Rose with 10:10 left in the third, and 1:45 later, Laurita found Rose. That same duo connected with 2:16 left in the period for the final score in the spurt.
Prongay was able to slow the Stevens momentum with his second with 84 seconds in the third, but Saley opened the fourth quarter scoring with an unassisted tally to push the lead back to three.
Junior Kevin Dyer (Flemington, NJ / Hunterdon Central) and Sinicola scored back-to-back goals to trim the margin to one with 11:14 on the clock but Laurita’s second with 8:16 was enough and the Stevens defense did the rest.
Senior Eric Yando (Baldwinsville,N.Y.) made 11 saves in strong effort in goal for the Ducks, while his counterpart, junior Mark Glander (Vernon, NJ / Vernon) accumulated seven saves.
The Ducks ended the game with a 38-30 edge in shots and a 26-25 advantage in ground balls.
Montclair reached the NCAAs by capturing the automatic bid from the Skyline Conference as the Red Hawks claimed their third straight league title with a 9-7 win over Farmingdale State on April 30.