Emmanuel Upsets St. Joseph's in GNAC Quarterfinals

STANDISH, Me. 5th-seeded Emmanuel upset 4th-seeded Saint Joseph's, 9-8, in a GNAC quarterfinal at Westerlea Way Field on Tuesday afternoon. The win marked the first post-season victory in the brief history of either lacrosse program at Emmanuel.

The Saints will now advance to take on the top-seeded Cadets of Norwich University in the GNAC semifinals in Vermont on Thursday afternoon. The Cadets toppled No. 8 Anna Maria College by a 19-6 margin in other conference quarterfinal action this afternoon.

Today's win boosted the Saints to 7-9 on the season, tying their program-record for wins in a season, set in 2012. The loss ends the season for the Monks, who wrap up the 2013 campaign at 7-10 overall.

The visiting Saints led by a margin of 9-4 with just over four minutes to play in the fourth quarter. However, the host Monks would not go down quietly, employing a sense of desperation and methodically chipping away at the deficit with four unanswered goals.

Saint Joseph's trailed by one with 33 seconds remaining and had a prime opportunity to set up a play during a timeout after an Emmanuel turnover 14 seconds later. But the hosts' comeback bid would fall just short as Emmanuel's freshman defenseman Pat Heffernan (Pembroke, Mass.) caused a turnover near midfield with time winding down.

Freshman midfielder Chris Curtis (Ashland, Mass.) paced the Saints' offensive effort with two goals and two assists, while dealing a team-high 10 shots. Freshman Kaile MacLean-Daley (Moretown, Vt.) produced a pair of tallies for the visitors. Sophomore midfielder Ryan Sabuda (Indianapolis, Ind.) added a goal, two assists and eight ground balls while second-year middie Jake Jaskolski (St. Clair Shores, Mich.) recorded a goal and an assist and Brian O'Regan (Milton, Mass.) and Evan Dolber (Malden, Mass.) netted a goal apiece in the tourney triumph.

Emmanuel sophomore goalie Austin Lauzier (Bedford, N.H.) was quite busy in net, making a season-high 19 saves in his team's first GNAC Tournament victory.

Sophomore midfielder Dalton Eldridge (South Gardiner, Maine) led the Monks' offense with two goals and an assist and sophomore attackman Max Meserve (Kennebunk, Maine) tallied two goals and 10 ground balls in the season-ending loss. Jake Ricciardi (Sharon, Mass.), Austin Watts (Westbrook, Maine), Andrew Sullivan (Rochester, N.H.) and Jeremy Sampsonis (Shrewsbury, Mass.) also scored in the losing effort.

Senior goalkeeper Christopher Driscoll (Saco, Maine) registered 14 saves in goal, while Watts and Sampsonis collected eight ground balls apiece and senior defenseman Bert Comins (Newbury, Mass.) added six ground balls and three caused turnovers on the afternoon.

Ricciardi broke a scoreless tie with a tally off a Jordan Grant (Windsor, Maine) dish at the 9:08 mark. The lead lasted all of 40 seconds, as Curtis knotted the tourney tilt at one-apiece off a Jaskolski pass with 8:28 left in the first quarter. The goal seemed to change the complexion of the contest, as the Saints proceeded to pot two additional markers the first by O'Regan and another by Curtis to secure a 3-1 lead heading into the second stanza.

Emmanuel added to the lead, when Sabuda scored off a Curtis pass 2:25 into the second quarter, but the Monks finally broke a 17-minute scoring drought when Sampsonis caused a turnover near midfield, streaked to the Saints' cage and beat Lauzier with a laser from about 15 yards out.

Eldridge netted his first goal of the contest 48 seconds later to cut the Monks' deficit down to 4-3, but Jaskolski tallied a man-up marker off a Sabuda dish with 2:14 before the break to provide the visitors with a 5-3 cushion heading into intermission.

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