No. 19 Bryant Stops Siena on Last Shot in NCAA Play-in Game

It would take another five minutes, but James would connect with Dunster for the 8-7 lead with 5:30 showing on the clock. And after a nearly 30-second struggle at the X on the ensuing faceoff, Poirier would pick up the ground ball and feed a quick pass to Morrell, who scored from five yards out for the eventual game winner with 5:11 to play.

Siena junior specialist Casey Dowd controlled much of the faceoff play through the opening three quarters, giving junior All-American faceoff specialist Kevin Massa (Huntington, N.Y.) his toughest match-up of the season. But Massa would excel when the Bulldogs needed him most, winning 6 of 7 at the X in the fourth quarter to give the Black and Gold the push they needed for the 9-8 win and to advance into the field of 16. Dowd and Massa each won 10 on the day, with Massa edging his opponent in the ground ball game, 8-7.

"Their guy is really good," Pressler said of Dowd. "Kevin didn't have his best stuff today, but when we needed him the most, No. 41 rose to the occasion."

The Bulldogs will now look to Sunday night's rematch against No. 2 Syracuse, the same team the Bryant saw in the NCAA tournament a year ago in a 12-7 decision, and will do so on short rest thanks to Wednesday's play-in game.

"First and foremost, we are going to enjoy this one tonight," said Pressler. "If you go back to a year ago, for three quarters, it was very much an even game. We are going to fall back on that experience at the Carrier Dome and rely on that Sunday at 7:30 p.m."

Sunday's game is the last of the NCAA tournament First Round match-ups and can be seen live on ESPNU at 7:30 p.m.

* * * *

SMITHFIELD, R.I. Kyle Curry's shot at a game-tying goal was blocked with two seconds remaining as No. 19 Bryant held off Siena, 9-8, in an NCAA play-in game at Bulldog Stadium. Bryant advances to the NCAA Tournament to face No. 2 seed Syracuse in the first round Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Carrier Dome.

"I'm extremely proud," said head coach John Svec. "We've had a good year and I'm sad to see it come to an end."

Siena ends a successful 2014 season with an 11-6 final record. The Saints won their third MAAC Championship in six seasons and reached double digits in wins for the seventh time in the last year years.

Playing in their NCAA-leading 12th true road game, Siena controlled the game early scoring three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead midway through the first quarter. MAAC Faceoff Specialist of the Year Casey Dowd set the tone early, winning four of six first quarter draws against two-time Northeast Conference Player of the Year and Tewaaraton Award Semifinalist Kevin Massa.

"Listen, that kid's (Massa) really good, but we've got a really, really good faceoff guy (Dowd). I think it's about time somebody said 'Casey Dowd is a hell of a lacrosse player.'"

But the Saints were hampered by misfortune as they hit five posts, four of which came in the first half. As a result, Siena was unable to build a commanding lead and harbored just a 4-3 advantage over Bryant (15-4) at the break.

The Bulldogs defense clamped down during the middle of the game, allowing Bryant to go on a four-goal run to reclaim a 6-4 lead with 4:42 remaining in the third quarter. Kyle Curry eventually ended the Saints' 26:56 drought with his second goal of the game and Siena trailed 6-5 heading into the final stanza.

Conor Prunty and Kevin Cousin scored 63 seconds apart early in the fourth as Siena rallied to re-tie the game 7-7 with 10:40 to play. MAAC Offensive Player Richie Hurley assisted on both scores and finished with four assists on the day. Hurley ends the year with 48 assists, breaking Siena great Tony Asterino's single-season program record of 47 set when he led the nation in scoring in 1981.

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