Men’s lacrosse wins MAAC Championship

Max Molski

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The Marist Red Foxes topped the Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse team 16-14 in Poughkeepsie, New York to win the 2015 MAAC Championship last May. On Saturday, the two foes met again in Hamden with the 2016 conference title on the line.

Quinnipiac avenged last season’s conference championship loss with a 13-9 win at the Quinnipiac Field Hockey/Lacrosse Field to claim its first MAAC Men’s Lacrosse Championship.

“It’s been an entire year on our minds,” Quinnipiac senior Ryan Keenan, who scored two goals and dished out two assists in Saturday’s win, said. “It’s just a great job from the entire team. We did it for each other.”

The Bobcats (11-3, 6-0 MAAC) jumped out to a 4-0 lead within the first seven minutes of the first quarter. They went on to increase their lead to 6-1 with 4:28 left in the first, but Marist (9-7, 4-2 MAAC) tacked on two goals late in the quarter to make it a 6-3 game going into the second.

“We came out with so much energy,” Keenan said. “You know, [Marist’s] whole team, they were going to keep battling right to the end.”

Marist scored the first two goals of the second quarter to make it a 6-5 game with 8:35 left in the second. Quinnipiac head coach Eric Fekete, the unanimous selection for MAAC Men’s Lacrosse Coach of the Year, immediately called a timeout.

Quinnipiac’s Will Vitelli, who was voted the MAAC Faceoff Specialist of the Year, earned one of his 20 faceoff wins as Ryan Corcoran countered with a goal just 11 seconds later to double Quinnipiac’s lead.

Each team scored one more goal before halftime to make it an 8-6 game in favor of Quinnipiac.

The Bobcats exploded offensively to start the third quarter as Keenan, junior attacker Drew D’Antonio and freshman midfielder Foster Cuomo each scored in the first 4:10 of the second half to increase their lead to 11-6.

Marist brought the game to 11-8 as Joseph Radin scored his 50th goal of the season with 8:29 left in the third while John Vign capped off a hat trick 50 seconds later.

While the Red Foxes seemed to have momentum on their side, Quinnipiac goalie Jack Brust stymied them throughout the rest of the second half. Brust followed up an 18-save performance against Canisius in the tournament semifinals with 13 in the conference championship. The conference later named him Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

“Our defense was great. Jack [Brust] was great,” Fekete said. “They did a really good job today. [I’m] very proud of the whole team. It’s just a terrific team.”

The All-Tournament Team also boasted three other Bobcats in Keenan, Cuomo and Adam Bellamy, who tacked on his first point of the season with an assist in Saturday’s win.

Cuomo scored a goal late in the third period while D’Antonio scored his fourth goal of the day to put Quinnipiac up 13-8 with 2:36 left in the contest. Radin got one back for Marist as he capped off his own hat trick with 1:35 left in regulation to carry the game to its 13-9 final.

“We knew we were going to have to keep pushing and stick to what we do,” Keenan said. “In the end, we battled harder than we have all year and we got the job done.”

With the win, the Bobcats advance to their first ever NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship. The team will find out its opponent and the rest of the field tomorrow night at 9 p.m. when it is announced on the 2016 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Selection Show on ESPNU.