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Bryant squares off with Robert Morris Thursday in NEC Semifinals

Photo by Gretchen McMahon Photography
Photo by Gretchen McMahon Photography

PHILADELPHIA – The Bryant University men's lacrosse team opens postseason play in Philadelphia as the Bulldogs square off with Robert Morris Thursday at 4 p.m. in the NEC Semifinals.

Bryant is the No. 2 seed in the four-team tournament, hosted by Saint Joseph's. The Bulldogs went 5-1 in conference play with the lone loss to the host Hawks, who will face Sacred Heart in Thursday's first semifinal.

THE PARTICULARS
Opponent: Robert Morris
Location: Sweeney Field (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Game Time:
 Thursday, May 3 – 4 p.m.
Watch Live: NECFrontRow.com
Live Stats: SJUHawks.com 

SCOUTING THE COLONIALS
Robert Morris is 10-4 on the year after falling 8-7 to Saint Joseph's Saturday in the regular-season finale. The Colonials went 4-2 in NEC play with a road loss to Saint Joseph's and a home loss to the Bulldogs March 30 in Moon Township. RMU's loss to Saint Joseph's was the Colonials' first road defeat of 2018. 

Jimmy Perkins has recorded a team-high 49 points for Robert Morris on 23 goals and 26 assists, while Matt Schmidt has a team-leading 30 goals. Zachary Bryant has 34 caused turnovers to lead Robert Morris, while goalie Alex Heger has recorded a .598 save percentage and 7.67 goals against average.

THE SERIES
Bryant is 9-2 in the all-time series against Robert Morris with wins in the last seven meetings. This is the second straight year the teams have met in an NEC Semifinal. 

Robert Morris was No. 13 in the USILA poll when the teams met in Moon Township March 30, but the Bulldogs held the host Colonials to just two goals in the second half for a 10-7 Bryant victory. Redshirt-sophomore Jake Buonaiuto (Miller Place, N.Y.) tallied two goals and an assist, while junior Kevin Beimfohr (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) made eight saves.

LAST TIME OUT: BRYANT 17, BROWN 9
Seniors Tom Kennedy (Farmingdale, N.Y.) and Cam Ziegler (Carlsbad, Calif.) each scored five goals and freshman Marc O'Rourke (Hingham, Mass.) recorded a six-point night in a convincing 17-9 in-state win at Brown April 24 to close the regular season. 

SENIOR DUO WITH BIG NIGHTS ON THE EAST SIDE
Seniors Tom Kennedy and Cam Ziegler became the first pair of Bryant teammates to score five goals each in the same game since 2009 when they did so against Brown April 24. Zack Greer, Kevin Hoagland and Bryan Kaufmann all achieved the feat Feb. 22, 2009 against Sacred Heart. 

ARE YOU EXPERIENCED?
A total of 15 Bryant players have appeared in at least one NEC tournament game in their time in Black and Gold entering Thursday's game against Robert Morris, while nine have played in at least two separate NEC tournaments. 

Seven Bulldogs - graduate students Kenny Massa (Huntington, N.Y.) and Chas South (Ridgefield, Conn.), along with seniors Tom Kennedy, Nick Hallmark (Novato, Calif.), Kyle Cornell (Darien, Conn.), Cam Ziegler and Anthony Johnson (Fairfield, Conn.) - have played in a conference tournament game in each of the last three seasons going into Thursday.

PROGRAM, NEC-RECORD THREE BULLDOGS DRAFTED
A program and NEC-record three Bulldogs - senior Tom Kennedy, graduate student Kenny Massa and senior Anthony Johnson - were selected April 18 in the Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft. Kennedy was chosen by the Boston Cannons in the third round (26th pick), Massa was selected by the Ohio Machine in the fourth round (31st pick) and Johnson was picked by Boston in the seventh round (55th pick). 

BULLDOGS AMONG NEW ENGLAND'S BEST
Bryant has won 105 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' .607 winning percentage over those 10 seasons ranks third in New England behind Yale (.691) and Brown (.608). 

MIDFIELD PUTS UP POINTS AGAINST HOBART
The Bryant midfield combined for seven goals and five assists in the April 21 win over Hobart - a total that included two goals each from juniors Matt Heldberg (Kings Park, N.Y.) and Kevin Quigley (Fairfax Station, Va.) along with sophomore Trevor Weingarten (Allendale, N.J.)

MASSA ADDS TO MANTEL
Graduate student Kenny Massa has earned two NEC Player of the Week honors in 2018 and been named to the USILA Team of the Week twice. Massa ranks second in the nation in ground balls per game (11.29) and fifth in face-off percentage (.676) this season. 

TRIO RISING IN PROGRAM RECORD BOOK
Senior Cam Ziegler's six-point night against Brown improved his standing in the program record book, as Ziegler now stands eighth in goals (88) and ninth in points (134). 

Graduate student Chas South and senior Anthony Johnson are both into the top 10 in program history in caused turnovers, with South tied for fourth at 67 and Johnson seventh at 57.

KENNEDY TABBED AS SENIOR CLASS AWARD FINALIST
Senior Tom Kennedy 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. 

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 20 goals, 11 assists and 26 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, 17 ground balls and a team-high 10 caused turnovers in 2018. 

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS
Redshirt-sophomore Jake Buonaiuto ranks second in the NEC and 26th nationally with five man-up goals in 2018. Freshman Marc O'Rourke is fifth in the conference with four. 

CONFERENCE CALL
Bryant has a 38-11 record in NEC games since the conference began sponsoring men's lacrosse in 2010. The 38 wins are the most by any conference team - nine more than Robert Morris - and the .776 winning percentage is the best of the five teams that have been NEC members since the conference's formation. 

NEXT UP: NEC FINAL
With a win Thursday, Bryant would face the winner of the other semifinal between No. 4 seed Sacred Heart and No. 1 seed Saint Joseph's Saturday at TBA at Sweeney Field. 

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