St. Anselm Men’s Lacrosse leads early, but falls in NE-10 First Round to #8 Adelphi

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. – The Saint Anselm College men’s lacrosse team suffered a 13-7 setback to #8 Adelphi University on a rainy Tuesday night in the Northeast-10 Conference Men’s Lacrosse Tournament First Round. The Hawks wrap up their season at 8-6 overall, their first winning season since the 2012 campaign.

Seven different players scored a goal for Saint Anselm as Patrick Sweeney (North Andover, Mass.), Jake Stokes (Beverly, Mass.), Todd Billetter (Derry, N.H.), James Olsen (Westford, Vt.), Alex Pacitti (Foxboro, Mass.), Xavier Quinn (Rye, N.H.) and Jimmy McCurdy (Canton, Mass.) each registered a tally. Olsen and Pacitti each added assists to lead the offense.

Defensively, Derrick LaBranche (Bow, N.H.) picked up five groundballs and caused three turnovers to lead the Hawks. Stokes added four groundballs and three caused turnovers while winning three face-offs. James O’Neill (East Walpole, Mass.) played very well in goal for the Hawks, making 13 saves in his first start since the 2015 season.

After Salvatore Tuttle found the back of the net to take a 1-0 lead, the Hawks got the equalizer less than a minute later as Saint Anselm took advantage of a fast-break chance. Alex Pacitti found Jimmy McCurdy with a quick pass and the senior used a low shot to beat Adelphi’s John McGrath to tie the game at 1-1.

The Hawks took advantage of an Adelphi turnover at midfield and kept possession to eventually take the lead. Alec Salvadori tried to check the ball free from Patrick Sweeney, but the head of his stick came flying off, allowing Sweeney to walk in one-on-one with the Adelphi keeper where he beat McGrath to give Saint Anselm their first lead of the game at 2-1.

James Olsen made it a 3-1 lead nearly two minutes later as he spun free from a defender and went opposite post for his 33rd goal of the season.

Chris Racalbuto answered with 12:33 remaining in the second quarter, but Alex Pacitti entered the scoring column to put the Hawks back on top by two with 10:46 to play. Unfortunately, for Saint Anselm, they gave it right back by allowing the Panthers to go on the man-advantage, which Shane Deboer capitalized on to make it a 4-3 game.

With 5:45 remaining in the first, O’Neill made a save and the ball ping-ponged off multiple sticks until Jake Stokes picked up the ball near midfield. Stokes raced in on the Adelphi defense and switched to his right hand, firing a low shot that beat McGrath and pushed the Hawks to a two-goal advantage.

Adelphi rattled off a 3-0 run to end the half as Chris Racalbuto found the back of the net with an extra attacker to make it a 5-4 game before Gordon Purdie, Jr. evened the score at 5-5 with 1:45 remaining. The Panthers won the ensuing face-off and ran down the clock, and with only 0.7 to play in the half, Anthony DeLuca found Paul Bentz for the go-ahead goal as Adelphi took a 6-5 lead into the half.

The Panthers carried the momentum into the third quarter as Adelphi scored all three goals of the period to take a 9-5 lead into the final quarter of play.

Adelphi made it a 7-0 run early in the fourth quarter as Purdie, Jr. scored only 16 seconds into the final frame to take a 10-5 lead. Todd Billetter ended the run with his first goal of the day as he came from behind and went with a low shot past McGrath to cut the deficit to 10-6 and 10:38 to play in regulation.

Adelphi took advantage of another fast-break with 3:46 to play to extend their lead back to 11-6, but Xavier Quinn answered right back for the Hawks as Saint Anselm forced a turnover near midfield which led to Quinn beating his defender and going top shelf to make it a four goal game at 11-7.

After a Panthers timeout, Salvatore Tuttle bookended his two goals of the game as he sealed the victory for Adelphi with his 58th goal of the season and Matt Schmelzinger added one late to give the game its final score of 13-7.

Adelphi held a 44-34 advantage in shots in the game while grabbing 34 groundballs to 22 for the Hawks. Saint Anselm won the turnover battle, 14-11, but lost 17-of-20 face-offs on the night. Both teams were efficient on clears with the Hawks going 21-of-22 and Adelphi posting a 21-of-24 showing.