Seniors Account for 15 Pts as #10 Purple Knights Defeat AIC

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Four Seniors combined for 15 points to propel the nationally-ranked Saint Michael's College men's lacrosse team to its third straight victory with a 14-4 triumph over American International College (AIC) on Saturday at Abdow Field.

The Purple Knights, who are ranked 10th according to the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) national poll, improve to 9-4 overall and 5-4 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Yellow Jackets fall to 0-12 and 0-9.

Senior Paul Tortora Jr. (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield Prep) tied a career high with six points as he tallied one marker and dished off five assists to lead the Purple Knights, while classmate Kevin Hunt (Johnstown, N.Y./Johnstown) notched four goals and one assist. Seniors Andrew Buccellato (Glen Rock, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) and Max Zuccarini (Medfield, Mass./Medfield/Quinnipiac) combined for four points as Buccellato tallied once, while Zuccarini scored twice and added one assist.

Junior Marty Vanzo (Westford, Vt./Essex/Vermont) netted a hat trick while, freshman Matt Cassella (Yonkers, N.Y./Fordham Prep) notched his first goal and assist as a collegian and was 3 of 5 on face-offs. Senior Pete Hanson (Andover, Mass./Andover) caused four turnovers and scooped up six ground balls, junior Asa Sargent (East Middlebury, Vt./Middlebury Union) scored his first goal of the season and added a helper and sophomore Chris Casserly (Kensington, N.H./Exeter) was 9 of 11 on face-offs. Classmate Chris DeMairo (Bethpage, N.Y./Bethpage) made seven saves in 31:16 of action.

Each goalie saw time in net for the Purple Knights as sophomores Theo Ferguson (Delmar, N.Y./Bethlehem Central) made one save in 5:59 of action and Andrew Landers (Manchester, Mass./Proctor Academy) stopped three shots in 16:38, while freshman Dylan Florian (West Hartford, Conn./Kingswood Oxford/Sacred Heart) spent 6:07 in net without seeing a shot.

Four different players scored for the Yellow Jackets, while senior Eric Whettell (La Salle, Manitoba/Sanford College) stopped 11 shots in 45:41.

The Purple Knights netted a 2-0 lead by the 8:07 mark of the opening quarter with Hunt tallying at 11:04 before Vanzo found the back of the net less than three minutes later. Zuccarini tacked on a marker with 32 seconds left in the quarter to give Saint Michael's a three-goal edge.

Hunt notched his second goal of the contest at 11:11, before AIC got on the board as the Purple Knights held them scoreless for the first 26:07 of the contest. The Yellow Jackets tallied twice in the final 3:53 to cut the deficit in half with 26 seconds left, but Hunt completed the hat trick with one second left to help Saint Michael's take the lead for good.

The Purple Knights recorded three straight goals to take an 8-2 lead with 12:30 remaining in the third quarter as Vanzo and Zuccarini tallied their second goals of the game and Tortora Jr. found the back of the net for his lone tally.

The Yellow Jackets countered at the 9:53 mark of the stanza, but Hunt responded with his fourth goal at 2:47 of the third quarter as Saint Michael's scored six consecutive markers to take a commanding 14-3 edge with 3:49 left in the contest. AIC tacked on its final tally with 3:11 remaining in the game.

Saint Michael's outshot AIC 46-35 and finished with a 30-21 advantage in ground balls.

The Purple Knights finish the regular season next Saturday when they host Southern New Hampshire University for Senior Day at 1:00 p.m.


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