On Saturday, April 12, the Pioneers met their match after the team endured a nine-hour bus journey to take on Mercyhurst University at Tullio Field, in Erie, (P.A.). Despite junior midfielder Connor Drost scoring a game-best five points off the bench, the number 11 ranked Pioneers (6-4) narrowly fell to the number four ranked Lakers (8-2), with a final score of 9-7.
In spite of the end result, the game provided 60 minutes of sheer excitement. Tied 1-1 at the end of the first quarter, the Lakers scored three unanswered goals, two of which occurred in a 45-second stint, to kick start the second period. Senior attack man Brandon Thomson capped the spurt for the hosts with a man-up tally at the 8:57 mark.
However, the Pioneers reeled off three goals of their own to conclude the second half, and went into the second intermission tied at 4-all. Sophomore midfielder, Anthony Berardis, bookended the run with goals, while sophomore attack man Matty Beccaris sandwiched it with a marker on the extra-man opportunity.
The Ping-Pong action between the two teams resumed in the third quarter before Mercyhurst, which maintained a dominant 17-of- 20 (85 percent) on face-offs, pulled away in the fourth period. During the final 15-minute stanza, the players on the host team scored goals, keeping LIU Post off the scoreboard. Green and Gold did, however, manage three shots on net, but the Lakers’ senior goaltender Michael Grace – who made an impressive eight saves throughout the game – stopped each of the attempts.
Additionally, Berardis notched a hat trick during the play. Senior attack man/midfielder Connor Mackay, along with junior attack man Chris Caiazza, chipped in a goal apiece. Sophomore attack man Ryan Slane also dished out an assist; and in his third appearance of the year between the pipes, sophomore goalkeeper Adam Winne denied eight shots from making the scoreboard.
Head Coach John Jez and the Pioneers return to action next Saturday, April 19, when they face NYIT at noon.