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March 23, 2013

Bulldogs get first W, 10-9, at Stony Brook

BRYANT GETS FIRST WIN OF SEASON BEHIND STANDOUT PERFORMANCES FROM MORRELL, MASSA, 10-9, OVER SEAWOLVES

STONY BROOK, N.Y. – Sophomore Shane Morrell (Glen Mills, Pa.) recorded six points and scored three times and classmate Kevin Massa (Huntington, N.Y.) went 19-of-22 from the faceoff X to lead the Bryant University men's lacrosse team to its first win of the season, 10-9, on the road against Stony Brook University Saturday afternoon.

A fast-paced shootout for three of the four periods, Saturday's back-and-forth game featured eight ties and six lead changes, but none were more important that Morrell's third goal of the day – the eventual game winner – with 3:19 left in the contest off a pass from linemate Brian Schlansker (Glenville, N.Y.) that put the Bulldogs (1-7) back on top for the final time.

The Seawolves (5-4) got four goals from Brody Eastwood and five points (3 goals) from Jeff Tundo but couldn't get the equalizer despite being awarded their fifth man-up opportunity of the outing with 42 ticks left in regulation.

Massa added a game-best 15 ground balls to his .864 winning percentage at the X, pacing the Bulldogs to 37 on the day. Rookie Tom Carey (New Canaan, Conn.) made 10 saves for the victory, as Bryant outshot Stony Brook, 46-30, on the afternoon.

"This might be my 40th year involved in the sport of lacrosse, and I can't remember a win more rewarding, just because of the situation we are in," said head coach Mike Pressler.

But the host Seawolves would take the early advantage, scoring twice in the opening five minutes, both off the stick of Eastwood. Bulldog rookie Collins Gantz (Denver, Colo.) cut into Stony Brook's 2-0 lead at the 8:44 mark of the first quarter, and sophomore Kevin Rudd (Berwyn, Pa.) bounced a shot past Seawolves goalie Pat McGushin 38 seconds later to knot the score at 2-2 with 8:06 left on the clock.

Bryant would get its third-straight tally and take its first lead of the game with 5:49 remaining, when – following two big saves from Carey on straight possessions – the rookie netminder fed junior leading scorer Alex Zomerfeld (Port Jefferson, N.Y.) with an outlet pass on the clear, and Zomerfeld streaked down the side of the field to score an unassisted transition goal for the 3-2 edge.

But Eastwood answered for the home side with 1:12 left in the period, completing his hat trick to score all three of Stony Brook's tallies and even the game at 3-3 entering the second stanza.

SBU would go back on top just over two minutes into the second quarter, as Tundo got in on the action for the hosts, netting his own unaided score for a 4-3 advantage.

From there, it would take more than six minutes, but Gantz would get the Black and Gold back on the scoreboard to tie the game once again at the 6:23 mark, turning a blocked Seawolves shot into an opportunity the other direction. From 20 feet out, Gantz faked out his defender to get a clear shot from the right side, netting his second score of the day.

Morrell see-sawed the score back in Bryant's favor two minutes later despite a pair of Stony Brook defenders dragging him to the ground, flicking a low shot in on goal from the doorstep for the 5-4 lead.

"What a performance," said Pressler. "Shane looked like a Division I attackman bringing the ball to the goal today. It was only fitting that he got the winner on a great play from Brian Schlansker on that 10th goal."

Another Eastwood score created the fourth draw of the contest, 5-5, but Dan Sipperly (Greenwich, N.Y.) would net the final tally of the opening half off a pass from Morrell to send the Bulldogs into the locker room with a 6-5 halftime edge.

But for all the scoring that was done in the first half, the third quarter saw just a pair of goals, both scored by the home side in the first and last minutes of the period from Mike Rooney and Tundo, respectively.

Stony Brook would head into the fourth with the 7-6 advantage, which Zomerfeld would quickly erase off a pass from Morrell less than three minute into the final stanza. Morrell would put the visiting Bulldogs back on top from the corner of the crease seconds later following a faceoff win by Massa.

The sides would trade goals en route to two more ties to keep the score even, 9-9, until the 3:19 mark, when Morrell connected on the winner for the 10-9 final margin.

"I told the team the last couple of days to be prepared for another one of these scenarios – one or two goals up or down either way with five or six minutes left – and this time, we were going to make the plays to win the game," said Pressler. "Fortunately for us, in game eight, we did."

The Bulldogs have little time to celebrate, however, in the midst of their most grueling stretch of scheduling. Bryant will be back at it Tuesday night against intrastate rival Providence College at the Bryant Turf Complex at 7:00 p.m.

"We've said all along that all we needed to do was get one," said Pressler. "To have that behind us and off our back is such a relief, and to get this one on Tuesday against Providence College would give our team great confidence to start this four-game homestand."

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