KINGS POINT, N.Y. (March 10, 2019) – The USMMA men's lacrosse team defeated visiting Western Connecticut State, 14-12, on a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon at Brooks Stadium in the Mariners' 2019 home-opener. With the victory, Merchant Marine improves to 3-0, while the Colonials fall to 3-2 in defeat.
Seniors Michael Rodriguez (Coronado, Calif.) and Jack Renard (San Clemente, Calif.) and junior Liam Connors (Bellmore, N.Y.) all had a game-high five points apiece to lead the Mariners in the win. Rodriguez tallied four goals and dished out one assist, Renard had a goal and a game-best four helpers, while Connors scored twice and recorded two assists.
Juniors Mike Morsberger (Catonsville, Md.) and Nick Roros (Northport, N.Y.) both had two-point days, as Morsberger scored two big goals in the fourth quarter and Roros chipped in with a goal and an assist. Four other Mariners scored a goal each – seniors Matt Kane (Lewes, Del.) and Lane Schmidt (North East, Md.) and juniors Jackson Misner (Tampa, Fla.) and John Maudsley (Wilton, Conn.).
In the faceoff-X, junior Kyle Buser (Babylon, N.Y.) got the start and won 7-of-8 faceoffs over the first quarter and early in the second. Buser picked up a team-high six groundballs, while Rodriguez scooped up five and Connors had four GBs. Senior Charley Hughes (Baltimore, Md.) got a good chunk of the draws the rest of the day and went 8-for-17 with four groundballs on the afternoon.
In goal, sophomore Shannon Byrne II (Severna Park, Md.) got the victory after playing over 41 minutes and making six saves. Junior Zac Tilley (Carolina Beach, N.C.) came in for 18 minutes to start the second half and had three stops on the day.
The Mariners scored five goals in the first five minutes of the game and led 6-1 at the end of the first quarter. WestConn went on to outscore USMMA, 3-2, in the second quarter thanks in part to a trio of Mariner penalties and the hosts went into the halftime break with an 8-4 lead.
After Merchant Marine scored two of the first three goals in the third to take a 10-5 advantage, the Colonials took over complete momentum, as they strung together five-straight tallies, including two man-up at the end of the quarter and then the game-tying goal early in the fourth to make it at 10-10 at 13:34.
The Mariners finally answered by scoring three of the next four to take a 13-11 lead with just 3:01 to play. After WestConn scored at 2:01 to make it a one-goal game again, the Mariners needed some insurance and it came from the crosse of Rodriguez with just 28 seconds left, which sealed the two-goal victory.
For Western Connecticut, junior Eric Caldwell and senior Robby Swenson both tallied four goals apiece, while junior Ryan Reuling added a goal and three assists. Freshman Donald Schaumloffel scored twice for the Colonials and junior Timothy Yannucci had one goal, the tally that tied the score up at 10-10 early in the fourth.
In the X, senior Ryan Yursha won 13-of-28 faceoffs, while sophomore Billy Youngblood had a strong day defensively with a game-high four caused turnovers and eight groundballs. Sophomore goalie Perry Cassidy suffered the loss despite making 13 saves over the full 60 minutes.
Up next, Merchant Marine will travel up to Purchase, N.Y., this Wednesday, March 13, for a non-conference contest against future Skyline opponent Manhattanville College. Opening faceoff against the Valiants is scheduled for 7 p.m. Live stats and a live video feed of the game will be available with links on the USMMA Men's Lacrosse Schedule Page.
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