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The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Manhattan stuns men’s lacrosse in opening round of MAAC tournament

Quinnipiac Athletics
Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse huddles before the next possession during the opening round of the MAAC playoffs against Manhattan.

As the clock struck zero in the fourth quarter, Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse stood, shocked as Manhattan rallied to defeat a team that was previously ranked No. 20 in the country. 

But it happened. 

The Jaspers’ record against the Bobcats in 2024 remained flawless, as they came graveling back in a heroic 14-13 victory Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the MAAC playoffs.  

Against a team that had its number during the regular season, Quinnipiac sought to avenge itself. But what could have served as sweet victory for the Bobcats became just another disappointing finish.

In the first minute of play, Manhattan senior midfielder Quinn Bowler managed to swerve his way into Bobcat territory and deliver a strike past junior goaltender Mason Oak.

Then came a second Jaspers’ run, highlighted by graduate student attacker Kyle Gucwa that spun off two different defenders to put the Bobcats in an early 3-0 hole.

For a second, it looked like Manhattan had the game in its hands during the first quarter. But the Bobcats managed to get on the scoreboard, albeit not easily. Senior attacker Dylan Donnery managed to fight off a swarm of Jaspers’ defenders for over 30 seconds to hold on to the ball in order to set up the offense. 

That scrum resulted in a man-up penalty against Manhattan. Quinnipiac had only scored on 27% of its man-up advantages during the regular season, but the team managed to cash in. Dylan Donnery delivered a strike into the net as the shot clock expired.

Quinnipiac completely flipped the script during the final minutes of the first quarter, as it took control of the game and refused to let it go. A four-goal run culminated with graduate student attacker John DeLucia driving into the middle of the Jaspers’ lane to score, putting the Bobcats up 4-3. 

The Bobcats refused to take their foot off the gas during the second quarter. DeLucia notched his second goal of the afternoon, rolling behind the net and weaving through a defender to score. 

Quinnipiac’s zone defense continued to stagger the Manhattan offense, maintaining control of the contest with seven unanswered points, resulting in a 7-4 lead at the half. 

“It gave us a lot of confidence,” head coach Mason Poli said during the ESPN+ broadcast. “We were giving Mason [Oak] a lot of saves and shots that are a little easier for him to follow and track. I thought our defense did a great job mixing it up.”

With the advantage entering the third frame, the Bobcats racked on a pair of goals from Dylan Donnery and graduate student attacker Jake Tellers.

But as the final minutes of the third wound down, Manhattan snuck back into the game. Back-to-back goals assisted by Gucwa put the score at 11-7 heading into the final 15 minutes.

Gucwa dished out another goal, followed by junior midfielder Drew Hiner and junior attacker Scott O’Conner to cut the deficit to one with 12 minutes remaining. 

Then came a floater shot by junior midfielder Kelly Dupree sailed by Oak and tied the game at 11.

The pendulum had made a complete turn to the Jaspers, who managed to go on a six-goal run with no real resistance from Quinnipiac. With just 10 minutes remaining, the Bobcats were on Manhattan’s heels, but it was still anyone’s game. 

It seemed like an eternity passed before another goal was scored. But as the Bobcats set up their offense in Jaspers’ territory, senior midfielder Evan Perry received a pass just near the middle of the field. Perry wound up and whipped a long shot into the Manhattan net to give Quinnipiac a one-goal advantage.

However, the Jaspers refused to give up any momentum. Two quick goals in three minutes put Manhattan back up by one with just 60 seconds left.

In Manhattan territory, DeLucia put up a prayer shot. Although it missed, the rebound was caught by senior midfielder Ryan Donnery who rifled the deflection through the net to tie the game.

Manhattan wound down the clock, giving graduate student attacker James Bassille the power to decide the outcome of either team’s season. As the last pass of the possession went to Bassille with 10 seconds to go, he wound, fired and scored for the Jaspers.

After a botched face-off, senior midfielder Steven Germain attempted a last ditch shot from the middle of the field that fell short of the net, clinching the win for Manhattan.

Quinnipiac has now lost consecutively in the first round of the MAAC playoffs, despite improvement in play and record from the prior season.

“We wanted to dictate the tempo down at the offensive end,” Poli said. “They did a phenomenal job moving the ball and putting Manhattan into tough situations.”

Poli — who has coached the lacrosse program for six years — looks to regroup for next season. The 2025 Bobcats will look far different than the current roster, as the squad is likely losing seven of their top scorers.

And while they may have to revamp and transition new recruits into the mix, there’s still hope for Quinnipiac lacrosse. A team that goes 7-0 to start the year and is ranked No. 20 in the country isn’t one to underestimate.

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