Marist Falls to Top-Seeded Siena in MAAC Semifinal

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timely goals and defensive stops to defeat No. 4 seeded Marist 9-7 Friday evening at Tenney Stadium in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Sophomore Bryan Neufeld led all players with four goals, the biggest of which was the eventual game winner, when he caught a pass on the crease, turned and scored as he was clobbered. MAAC Defensive Player of the Year Brent Herbst made 13 saves including four in the final period.

No. 1 seeded Siena (12-4) advances to its second MAAC Championship game in as many years and will face No. 2 seeded Mount St. Mary's on Sunday at noon. Mount advanced with a 10-6 win over Manhattan in the first semifinal.

"This certainly wasn't going to be a 10-goal game like it was last time," Head Coach Brian Brecht said. "I'm confident in our team. We're deep and we have a lot of guys who can make plays at any time. I don't think we were as crisp as we can be, but we made plays when we needed."

Marist (8-7) came out strong and scored twice in the first five minutes of the game. Siena settled down midway through the first quarter and rattled off three goals in three minutes. The first was a man-up goal by Brendan Murphy, his first of the season, and the next two came off the stick of Neufeld.

The Red Foxes hung around by controlling possession with a clear advantage at the faceoff X and Siena's sloppy play. Marist won 14 of 18 draws and the Saints complicated matters with 16 turnovers. "They came out with a lot of passion and we weathered the storm," Neufeld said. "Anything can happen in the playoffs and that something almost happened today."

Marist tied the game with 51 seconds left in the first half as Zindel hounded Herbst at the restraining line on a clearing attempt and knocked the ball loose. Zindel grabbed the ball and shot as Kyle Vercruysse scrambled to try and cover the empty net, but he only got a piece and it slipped by him.

Siena took a two-goal lead in the third quarter with goals by Neufeld and Loftus and Herbst made three saves to keep the Red Foxes off the scoreboard.

Herbst took a penalty to end the third quarter and was forced to the sidelines for 30 seconds. Siena killed the penalty with Bill Kelly in goal, but Marist kept possession on an errant shot and Zindel eventually scored to make it a one-goal game for a sixth time.

Neufeld shined bright in the moment, scoring his fourth goal of the game with 8:58 remaining. He received a pass from Matt Leithead on the crease, spun and scored as he took a heavy hit from the defender. He left the game with an injury on that play but later returned.

Marist would not go away and answered a minute later. Siena led 8-7 until the final minutes when Shaun Dunn whistled a rocket past Sam Altiero.

"It wasn't pretty but we got the win," Herbst said. "Throughout the season we've had a bunch of character-building games and this is just another to add to the list."

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2010-05-08



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