POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – The Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse team’s 2015 season came to a close on Saturday afternoon, as the Bobcats fell short to top-seeded Marist College, 16-14, in the MAAC Championship game at Tenney Stadium in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Quinnipiac outplayed the tournament favorite for much of the game, three quarters to be exact, but an early first quarter deficit proved to be too much to overcome. Airing live on ESPN3 and Time Warner Cable, lacrosse fans in attendance and around the region enjoyed a thrilling finish before crowning a champion.
Quinnipiac was led by its senior captain Michael Sagl (West Islip, N.Y.) who finished with five goals and an assist – by far the most dangerous player on the field. He wraps up his illustrious career with 183 points on 84 goals and 99 assists – ranking first all-time in assists, third in points and tied for fifth in goals scored. He also extended his point streak to 47 straight games which was the nation’s third longest streak among active NCAA players.
Ryan Keenan (Oshawa, Ontario) finished with four points on two goals and two assists, extending his point streak to 13 straight games. He added three ground balls. Matt Diehl (Towson, Md.) and Connor Meth (Basking Ridge, N.J.) each had two goals, and Pat Corcoran (Stamford, Conn.) added a goal and an assist. Diehl and Corcoran will leave Quinnipiac as two of the best offensive midfielders in program history.
Matt Kycia (West Hartford, Conn.) and Nate Nibbelink (Hampstead, Md.) added a goal apiece; Carmen French (Lutherville, Md.), Kevin Diehl (Towson, Md.) and Steve Bryant (Millersville, Md.) each having an assist. An explosive offense that clicked down the final stretch, both of Quinnipiac’s scoring totals this weekend were season highs for the club.
Quinnipiac dug itself an early hole, as Marist opened an 8-1 advantage through the first quarter of action. Marist added one more quickly in the second, but that’s when Quinnipiac’s offense came to life. The Bobcats closed the first half on a 7-3 run, trailing by four at the break, 12-8.
The Bobcats’ run began on the man-up, Kycia scoring off a feed from Keenan to bring the crowd to its feet. Matt Diehl splashed the twine in between Marist tallies, and Quinnipiac scored five of the last six goals of the first half – including four straight. Matt Diehl, Corcoran, Keenan, Sagl, and Nibbelink scored during the spurt. Nibbelink’s marker came with just 24 seconds left in the stanza.
Needing to pull closer in the third quarter, Quinnipiac did just that thanks to a late goal by Sagl. The teams had exchanged three goals apiece in the frame until the Bobcats turned defense into offense with just seconds remaining. First Team All-MAAC selection, Carmen French, scooped up a Marist turnover, sprinted the length of the field and found Sagl in front with one second left to pull the Bobcats within three, 15-12. Meth and Sagl each scored twice in the quarter.
Marist scored the game’s next goal, putting the home team in front 16-12 with 11:54 left in regulation. Quinnipiac’s upperclassmen took over from there, putting forth a valiant effort to close the gap. Keenan scored first, beating his defender to the middle and finishing off a diving attempt – cutting the deficit to three, 16-13. Momentum had swung again in favor of the Bobcats.
The next eight minutes were exciting, but useful for the Red Foxes. Neither team scored during that span, each goalie coming up huge on several occasions. Sagl cracked the code with 90 seconds left, his fifth of the game, but an empty possession followed for the Bobcats – allowing Marist to run out the clock.
A fearless defensive effort, Quinnipiac held the high powered Marist attack to eight goals in the final three quarters. Junior goalie Jack Brust (Baltimore, Md.) was sensational; posting a career high 19 saves by games end. He and Sagl were tabbed to the All-Tournament team afterwards.
On the faceoff, Connor Devane (Wilton, Conn.) went toe-to-toe with the MAAC Faceoff Specialist of the Year, going 14-of-31 for the game. He finished with a team-high six ground balls. French scooped up four, with Keenan and Adam Bellamy (St. Catharines, Ontario) getting three.
Marist was led by J.D. Recor who had six points on three goals and three assists. Joseph Radin and Michael Begley each had three goals and two assists. Dave Scarcello, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, made nine saves between the pipes.
Marist earns the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Play-In games are slated for Wednesday, May 6 with the first round to follow on May 9-10. The National Semifinals are set for May 23, the National Championship to follow on May 25 in Philadelphia.
2015 MAAC All-Tournament Team
Shayne Adams, Detroit
Brandon Beauregard, Detroit
John Castellano, Monmouth
Ryan Horsch, Monmouth
Jack Brust, Quinnipiac
Mike Sagl, Quinnipiac
Mike Begley, Marist
Karl Kreshpane, Marist
Joseph Radin, Marist
Most Outstanding Player: Dave Scarcello, Marist