MERCY MEN'S LACROSSE MAKES MAGIC IN BEATING AIC 6-5
MERCY MAKES MAGIC IN BEATING AIC 6-5
In the scope of just a few years, the Mercy College men’s lacrosse team went from being a figment of the imagination to a living, breathing entity. Today, February 28, 2010, the Mavericks played the first game of their inaugural season, beating the Yellowjackets of American International College 6-5 in Springfield, Mass.
Any pre-game jitters were quickly dispelled for Mercy, as freshman Joe Pulido (Copaigue, N.Y./Copaigue) won the opening faceoff.
Minutes later, AIC was flagged for offsides, giving Mercy its first man-up situation. Just 13 seconds in, at 11:42 of the first quarter, freshman Frank Henenlotter (Lynbrook, N.Y./Lynbrook) fed classmate Mike Marzocca (North Babylon, N.Y./North Babylon) for the extra-man goal, the first goal in the history of the program. But there was little time to celebrate that magical moment, as the game quickly continued.
Play was tight, with AIC knotting the game with 4:37 to play in the first, as Travis Ortensi was able to beat Mercy’s freshman goalie T.J. DiCarlo (Farmingdale, N.Y./Farmingdale).
Freshman John Fitzpatrick (Yorktown, N.Y./Lakeland) would put the Mavs up 2-1 with just 31 seconds to play in the first, when he took an Alex Martello (Montville, N.J./Montville) pass and found the back of the net. Ortensi would score his second goal of the period when he played Beat the Clock and tied the score at 2-2 with just four seconds remaining in the quarter.
Only one goal was scored in the second quarter, and it was Mercy sophomore Sean Wallin (Mountain Lakes, N.J./Mountain Lakes) who lit the lamp with 1:20 to go before the intermission.
In the third, Henenlotter got his first goal of the season to give Mercy a two-goal, 4-2, lead with 9:59 to play. AIC would score back-to-back goals to tie the game, only to have Henenlotter take a pass from Martello and pump in a man-up goal late in the third to give Mercy a 5-4 lead at the end of the third. It was Martello’s fourth assist of the game.
With just fifteen minutes to go, Mercy was on the verge of making history.
As the fourth quarter opened, AIC began in a man-up situation, when Mercy’s Nick Rizzuto (Kings Park, N.Y./Kings Park) took a 60-second penalty for an illegal body check in the waning moments of the third period. Mercy killed that penalty, only to go offsides at the 13:51 mark, giving AIC another EMO. T.J. DiCarlo made a good save, keeping Mercy in the lead.
Wallin quickly gave Mercy a two-goal cushion with the eventual game-winner, when he took a Mike Marzocca pass and scored at the 11:30 mark.
Down two, AIC responded with desperation. In the fourth quarter, AIC managed 12 shots, with DiCarlo making five of his 11 saves in the period, as the Yellowjackets swarmed the goal.
“The team has a great confidence in T.J.,” said head coach Steve Manitta, who wins his first game as a college head coach. “They trust him to make the big save.”
AIC would score with just 5:37 to play to bring the score to 6-5. With 1:19 to go, AIC called for a timeout to setup their offense. DiCarlo came up brilliantly with the save, and all Mercy had to do was clear the ball.
The clear was good, but Mercy turned the ball over, giving AIC one last chance. With 15 seconds to play, AIC now needed to go the length of the field for one last chance. That last chance would not happen, and Mercy would claim the 6-5 win.
“We had three areas we wanted to concentrate on,” said Manitta. “We wanted to clear the ball well, win the battle for ground balls, and we wanted to stay out of the box.”
For the game, Mercy led in ground balls 33-21, successfully cleared the ball 19 out of 23 opportunities, and committed only two penalties for 1:30.
Leading the attack were Henenlotter and Wallin, who each netted two goals. Marzocca and Fitzpatrick had the other two goals. Martello finished with four assists, with Henenlotter and Marzocca each grabbing an assist. All six goals for the Mavs were assisted. Additionally, Mercy converted two of four extra man opportunities.
Joe Pulido won seven of the 13 faceoffs he took.
On defense, Michael Munch (West Babylon, N.Y./West Babylon) led all players with seven groundballs. Pulido had five, mostly on faceoff wins.
Mercy’s next game, which will be the first home game in program history, will be on Wednesday, March 3. In a game played at Yorktown High School, Mercy will host Pace University at 4:00 p.m.