PHILADELPHIA – The Bryant University men's lacrosse team looks to clinch home-field advantage for the Northeast Conference Championship when the Bulldogs travel to Philadelphia for a Saturday game at Saint Joseph's. Bryant enters Saturday's contest on a four-game winning streak and atop the NEC standings at 4-0, while Saint Joseph's has won six straight and is 3-0 in conference play.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
With a victory, Bryant would clinch a share of the NEC regular season title and the right to host the NEC Championship, to be played May 3 and 5.
SCOUTING THE HAWKS
Saint Joseph's has won six straight games after an 0-3 start and is one of two remaining unbeaten teams in the NEC. The Hawks bounced back from an 8-6 deficit to hold off Sacred Heart Sunday. SJU ranks fifth nationally in scoring defense at 7.78 goals per game and eighth in man-down defense (.786).
Mike Rastivo (13 goals), Chris Blewitt (12) and Kyle Cain (12) lead the scoring attack for the Hawks, while all three have at least nine assists. Mike Adler ranks second nationally in save percentage (.608) and eighth in goals-against average (8.16).
Bryant and Saint Joseph's are meeting for the eighth time with the Bulldogs holding a 4-3 advantage in the all-time series. Saint Joseph's began playing an NEC schedule in 2014 after previously competing in the CAA.
The Bulldogs picked up an 8-7 victory last season in Smithfield, as Tucker James scored two goals and added two assists. The teams are 2-2 in Philadelphia, with one of the Bryant wins being the 2015 NEC title game.
LAST TIME OUT: BRYANT 8, WAGNER 3
Bryant outscored Wagner 7-0 in the second half en route to the Bulldogs' fourth-straight victory Saturday in Smthfield. Graduate student Kenny Massa (Huntington, N.Y.) went 13-of-15 (.867) at the face-off X, while junior Kevin Beimfohr (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) turned away 11 of 14 Seahawk shots. Senior Kyle Cornell (Darien, Conn.) collected a career-high five ground balls.
MASSA ADDS TO MANTEL
Graduate student Kenny Massa earned his second NEC Player of the Week honor Monday with a 13-of-15 showing on face-offs along with 11 ground balls. Massa, who has also been named to the USILA Team of the Week twice this season, ranks second in the nation in ground balls per game (12.00) and third in face-off percentage (.707) this season.
TRIO RISING IN PROGRAM RECORD BOOK
Senior Cam Ziegler's (Carlsbad, Calif.) 80 career goals and 125 career points are both two shy of 10th in program history. Dan Sipperly scored 82 goals from 2011-14, while Max Weisenberg tallied 127 points from 2009-12.
Graduate student Chas South (Ridgefield, Conn.) and senior Anthony Johnson (Fairfield, Conn.) are both into the top 10 in program history in caused turnovers, with South fifth at 64 and Johnson seventh at 54.
BEIMFOHR STANDING TALL IN NEC PLAY
Junior Kevin Beimfohr has elevated his game in NEC play - a four-game winning streak in which Beimfohr has recorded a 7.00 goals-against average and .622 save percentage. Beimfohr has allowed two second-half goals over his last three contests.
KENNEDY TABBED AS SENIOR CLASS AWARD FINALIST
Senior Tom Kennedy (Farmingdale, N.Y.) was selected as one of 10 finalists nationally for the Senior CLASS Award, an honor given for accomplishments both on and off the field. Three of the 10 finalists hail from the NEC, with the other two coming from Saint Joseph's.
FAST START TO NEC PLAY FOR O'ROURKE
Freshman Marc O'Rourke (Hingham, Mass.) scored 12 goals in his first three NEC contests, including a total of 11 in the first two conference games against Mount St. Mary's and Sacred Heart. O'Rourke's 11 goals in a two-game stretch were the most by a Bulldog since Zack Greer in 2009. The freshman leads Bryant with 23 goals on the season.
O'Rourke has earned three NEC Rookie of the Week honors, two NEC Player of the Week awards and a USILA Team of the Week accolade during his freshman campaign.
KENNEDY NAMED TO TEWAARATON WATCH LIST
Senior Tom Kennedy was one of 50 players nationally named to the watch list for the Tewaaraton Award March 1. Kennedy has 13 goals, nine assists and 21 ground balls in 2018.
CUP OF COFFEY
Sophomore Zach Coffey (West Newbury, Mass.) has recorded two caused turnovers in a game three times in 2018 and scored his first two collegiate goals in the game against Bucknell Feb. 10. Coffey has four goals, two assists, 16 ground balls and eight caused turnovers in 2018.
Redshirt-sophomore Jake Buonaiuto (Miller Place, N.Y.) ranks second in the NEC and 11th nationally with five man-up goals in 2018. Freshman Marc O'Rourke is fifth in the conference with four.
BULLDOGS AMONG NEW ENGLAND'S BEST
Bryant has won 103 games since joining Division I in 2009 - the highest total of the 15 Division I lacrosse programs in the six New England states. The Bulldogs' .606 winning percentage over those 10 seasons ranks third in New England behind Yale (.683) and Brown (.612).
357 AND COUNTING
Head coach Mike Pressler ranks sixth among active NCAA coaches in all divisions with 357 career victories. Of those 357, 128 have come while leading the Bulldogs since 2007.
Bryant has a 37-10 record in NEC games since the conference began sponsoring men's lacrosse in 2010. The 37 wins are the most by any conference team - nine more than Robert Morris - and the .787 winning percentage is the best of the five teams that have been NEC members since the conference's formation.
NEXT UP: HOBART
Bryant returns home for Senior Day next Saturday as the Bulldogs host Hobart at 1 p.m. The game can be seen on NEC Front Row. Tickets can be purchased by clicking HERE.