Bulldogs down Bobcats, 17-7, in NEC opener
DOMINANT OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCE, STELLAR FACEOFF PLAY PROPELS BULLDOGS TO 17-7 VICTORY OVER QUINNIPIAC SATURDAY AFTERNOON
SMITHFIELD, R.I. — Led by four goals from junior midfielder Colin Dunster (Cos Cob, Conn.) and another standout performance from sophomore faceoff specialist Kevin Massa (Huntington, N.Y.), the Bryant University men's lacrosse team earned its first victory at home with a 17-7 decision over Quinnipiac in the Northeast Conference opener Saturday afternoon.
It was a breakout a game for the Bulldogs (2-8, 1-0 NEC), who saw a season-high 17 goals come from nine different sources, including a trio of hat tricks, and took the team's largest margin of victory this year. The Bobcats (3-5, 0-1) were led by a pair of goals from Brendan Wilbur, and despite a five-goal spurt spanning the third and fourth quarters, Quinnipiac never got much traction against a stalwart Bryant defense and solid play by Gunnar Waldt (Freeland, Md.) between the pipes.
Waldt made 11 saves to earn his first-career win, also picking up three ground balls in his best performance of 2013. Dunster added an assist to his four-tally day for a game-best five points, while junior attack Dan Sipperly (Greenwich, N.Y.) and senior longstick midfielder Mason Poli (Downingtown, Pa.) chipped in three goals apiece to headline the Bulldogs' most convincing offensive effort yet.
"We've been waiting all year not only for our offense to perform, but for us to put a together a complete, 60-minute effort," said head coach Mike Pressler. "Today was the first time in 10 games that we played a complete game."
Much of Bryant's offensive power began with Massa's performance at the faceoff X, as the second year Bulldog went 24-of-28 with 19 ground balls on the afternoon. Massa went a perfect 9-for-9 in the opening quarter, and the Bulldogs jumped out to a 5-0 lead before the Bobcats ever touched the ball, proving just how much offense can be generated off the faceoff.
"Quinnipiac is a good team, and for us to explode like that in the first 30 minutes and basically put the game out of reach, you have to look at it and say that this was because Kevin Massa had another unbelievably dominant performance at the faceoff X," said Pressler. "He was incredible today, and I was really pleased with the way we shot the ball."
Massa also added an assist on the day, a dish off to Poli after a clean faceoff win just 3:45 into the game to made it 5-0. Meanwhile, the Bobcats sent five different players to oppose Massa at the X, the most successful of which — Connor Devane — went just 3-of-11.
"That is just another measure of his skill, that he can adjust to five different styles and still do what he does," said Pressler. "We've seen a lot of this from Kevin, but every time out, he just impresses us even more."
The Bulldogs would score what turned out to be the eventual game winner just 5:02 into the second quarter, when Dunster netted his third tally of the game off a pass from junior linemate Alex Zomerfeld (Port Jefferson, N.Y.) to give the hosts an 8-2 advantage. It was part of an uninterrupted 10-goal stretch for the Black and Gold that lasted from the final minutes of the first period well into the heart of the third quarter, as Bryant kept Quinnipiac off the board for nearly 27 minutes and outscored its visitors, 5-0, in the second frame alone.
With an 11-2 halftime margin favoring the home side, the Bulldogs made it 15-2 before the Bobcats got back on the scoreboard late in the third. And even with a five-goal run of its own, Quinnipiac had too little to give too late in the contest, as the Bulldogs tacked on two final tallies — a man-up goal from Dunster and an unassisted score from Cody Isdaner (Gladwyne, Pa.) — to round out the scoring for the 17-7 final.
Each member of the Bulldogs' starting attack saw a four-point afternoon, with sophomore Shane Morrell (Glen Mills, Pa.) netting two goals and a pair of helpers, Sipperly adding an assist to his second-straight hat trick, and senior captain Peter McMahon (Wilton, Conn.) scoring a goal while dishing out a trio of assists in the win.
Bryant also saw goals from Zomerfeld (1 goal, 1 assist), rookie Collins Gantz (Denver, Colo.) and sophomore Brian Schlansker (Glenville, N.Y.) on the afternoon, while junior Bo Redpath (Norwich, Vt.) dished out an assist in third.
On the day, Bryant outshot Quinnipiac, 59-33, outfiring its opponent in every quarter, and more than doubled up the Bobcats in ground balls, 52-21. The Bulldogs finished the game 4-for-6 on extra-man opportunities and chased QU starter Gill Conners (10 saves) from the goal with 22:41 left to play in the contest. Colin Nesdale would make four stops and allow four Bryant scores down the stretch.
The Bulldogs now have a week off to enjoy the victory, but they will face one of their toughest opponents yet next time out, when league foe Robert Morris visits the Bryant Turf Complex Saturday, April 6 at 1 p.m.