Stevens Drops E8 Semifinal Match to No. 16 Ithaca

ITHACA, N.Y. (April 30, 2014) Stevens fell to top-ranked Ithaca, 9-7, in the Empire 8 semifinals on April 30 at Higgins Stadium on Ithaca's campus. With the loss, Stevens ends its season with an 8-8 overall record.

In a repeat of outcomes from a year ago, the Ducks won the regular season contest, but dropped the rematch in the conference semis. Last spring, Stevens topped Ithaca, 11-4, in the regular season finale and the Bombers answered with a 12-10 victory in the conference tournament.

Sophomore Matt Ferentini (South Salem, N.Y.) notched the opening goal of the contest with 9:06 remaining in the first quarter, but Ithaca answered right back 1:34 later on an unassisted tally from Andrew Kristy.

The Bombers took their first lead of the game at the 5:45 mark of the first on a doorstep goal by John Januszkiewicz off a pass from James Manilla for the final goal of the frame.

Stevens won all four faceoffs in the first quarter and scooped up 10 groundballs to just five for the Bombers.

Just two minutes into the second quarter, Januszkiewicz and Manilla hooked up again to put Ithaca ahead, 3-1, but Stevens won the ensuing faceoff and scored 40 seconds later. Ferentini tallied his second goal off a pass from sophomore Michael Serrante (Bridgewater, N.J.). The Bombers wasted no time to take back their two-goal edge as Jake Long took a pass from Januszkiewicz just 17 seconds after Stevens' goal.

Junior Michael Maroon (Virginia Beach, Va.) made a nice one-on-one move to break away from the Ithaca defender after he slipped on the wet turf to leave Maroon with a wide open shot and scored at the 9:11 mark of the second to pull the Ducks back to within one goal at 4-3.

Ithaca was given a golden opportunity with a two-minute man-up advantage after a pair of penalties were called on senior Tim Culloty (Mahwah, N.J.), but the Stevens defense stepped up did not surrender a goal. Sophomore Austin Boyd (Bellevue, Wash.) made a terrific save on Ithaca's final shot of the possession and sent an outlet pass to classmate Anthony Raposo (Tewksbury, N.J.), who fought through the Ithaca defense on the clear and notched a man-down goal to even the game up at 4-4 with 3:25 left in the half.

At the break, Stevens remained ahead at the "X", 8-2, and picked up eight more groundballs, 21-13. Shots were nearly even, 23-21, in favor of the Ducks. Boyd was a major difference maker in the first half with eight saves and made 12 saves overall with four groundballs.

The Bombers scored 34 seconds into the third quarter to take a 5-4 lead on a man-up chance. Ithaca was awarded the extra-man opportunity after the Ducks were called for a late one-minute penalty as the second quarter was winding down. Ithaca then recorded its largest lead of the game at that time with 12 minutes left, 7-4, on back-to-back goals within a 16-second span.

Freshman Connor McKeon (Branchburg, N.J.) snapped Ithaca's string of goals at the 7:15 mark of the third on an unassisted score to pull Stevens back to within a two-goal deficit, 7-5. Ithaca re-established its three-goal advantage with just over two minutes left in the third on a shot from Manilla for the final goal in the quarter.

Matt Slawta registered the first and only goal for Ithaca in the fourth quarter exactly two minutes in to make the score 9-5 in favor of Ithaca.

Maroon took a feed from Scrutchfield with 3:36 to go which pulled the Ducks back to within three goals at 9-6. The comeback attempt continued as Scrutchfield and Maroon switched roles with 1:55 on the clock, but there was not enough time left to make up the other two goals.

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