Wagner Earns First Win, Rallying to Down Pioneers

Staten Island, NY Sophomore goalie Nicholas Gibaldi (Rocky Point, NY/ Rocky Point) came up with a career-high 20 saves while junior midfielder Nick DePhillips (Glen Ridge, NJ/ Glen Ridge) and senior midfielder William Hedges (Shoreham, NY/ Longwood) scored three goals apiece as Wagner used a game-ending 5-0 run to post an 11-8 Northeast Conference (NEC) win over Sacred Heart.

The victory snapped a 26-game losing streak for the Seahawks which dated back to April 24, 2010 when Wagner notched an 8-7 overtime win at VMI. The last time Wagner had recorded a home win prior to today, was on March 3, 2009 when the Seahawks defeated Presbyterian 12-7. The win also marks the first in the Matt Poskay era at Wagner. A two-time All-American and National Champion at the University of Virginia, the first-year head coach is also currently an All-Star performer for the Boston Cannons of Major Lacrosse League.

Under Poskay this season, Wagner has played a competitive brand of lacrosse on a host of occassions before breaking through this afternoon. This season, Wagner has put a scare into several teams, dropping four games by four goals or less vs. Rutgers (9-5), Saint Joseph's (9-5), at VMI (12-11, OT), and at Mercer (14-11).

Against the Pioneers today, it appeared for awhile that Wagner was desttined for another close defeat as the Seahawks trailed 8-6 following a Matt Gannon goal with 9:08 remaining in the third quarter. The defenses then took over as neither team could find the goal the entire rest of the quarter as the Pioneers took that 8-6 lead into fourth quarter.

The combined scoreless spell continued into the first 2:14 of the final stanza when junior attacker Brian Faughnan (New Canaan, CT/ New Canaan) finally ended the 11:22 dryspell with an unassisted tally with 12:46 left to draw the Seahawks to within one goal at 8-7. Faughnan's score was the first in Wagner's impressive 5-0 game-ending run.

Forty-six seconds later, junior midfield combination of DePhillips and Colin O'Rourke (Worcester, MA/ Shrewsbury) connected as O'rourke sent a cross-field pass to an open DePhillips who buried the shot, tying the game at 8-8 with 12:00 to go. That's the way the score stood until Hedges uncorked his second goal of the game, an unassisted marker with 6:29 left, which made it 9-8, giving the Seahawks their first lead since it was 4-3 midway through the second quarter.

With 4:42 to go, Sacred Heart's Matt Ferrino was whistled for a cross-check and Wagner's extra-man unit went to work. After Wagner patiently working the ball around the perimeter, junior attacker Sam Morrissey (Long Valley, NJ/ West Morris Central) received an O'Rourke feed and promptly unleashed a 15-yard missile past Pioneer goalie Ryan Hughes with 3:56 left to provide Wagner with a two-goal cushion at 10-8.

With the Seahawks clinging to that 10-8 lead, Sacred Heart's Tim Caton was called for holding with 58 seconds to go. Again, Wagner's extra-man offensive unit smartly worked the ball around until Hedges took it on the right wing and made a terrific one-on-one move to beat his man and finish the play with 39 seconds left, lifting the Seahawks to a three-goal lead and the eventual 11-8 victory.

Wagner got out of the gates fast in this one, jumping out to an early 4-1 lead on goals by O'Rourke DePhillips, Hedges and Faughnan. ThePioneers then answered with a 5-0 run to close the half, taking a 6-4 lead into the locker room at intermission.

Matt Ferrino opened things up with a quick goal 34 seconds into the second half to complete a 6-0 run and give Sacred Heart a 7-4 advantage. Consecutive Wagner goals by senior attacker Mike Hurley (Billerica, MA/ Billerica) and DePhillips made it 7-6. Gannon then followed with his goal at 9:08 to make it 8-6 but this would prove to be the Pioneers' final tally of the game as Faughnan's early fourth quarter goal kicked off the Seahawks' decisive 5-0 game-winning rally.

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