POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - The Canisius College men's lacrosse team held Siena College without a goal in the second half, rallying for a 10-9 victory to win the 2012 MAAC Championship on the campus of Marist College on Sunday afternoon.
Senior Jimmy Haney scored a game-high four goals and was named the MAAC Tournament Most Valuable Player. Senior goalkeeper Sean Callahan made eight saves on the day and also earned MAAC All-Tournament Team honors. Seniors Simon Giourmetakis and Travis Gibbons each scored two goals for the Griffs on the day.
"This win is a testatment to our senior class, the 16 seniors who have led this team to a conference championship," Canisius coach Randy Mearns said. "We had to battle to get into the tournament, and we are playing our best lacrosse of the season at the right time.
"Our team didn't really execute the game plan in the first half, but we were able to make the adjustments at halftime, and we found a way in the end to defeat a quality opponent in Siena.
Canisius, who also won the 2008 MAAC Championship, awaits its opponent in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Selection Show will be held at 9 p.m. on ESPNU.
Down 9-6 at the half, Canisius (6-7) drew its third man-up opportunity of the game and Giourmetakis set up Gibbons, who cut the Siena lead to two goals early in the second half. That goal would be the only scoring of the period as Callahan made three saves in the third quarter to keep Siena off the scoreboard.
Haney scored his third goal of the day when he beat his man behind the net and finished while cutting around the crease to cut the deficit to 9-8 with 13:33 left. The Griffs were able to kill off a 60-second man-up opportunity for Siena, and Callahan made a point-blank stop on a shot from the back post to keep it a one-goal game with just over 10 minutes remaining. Neither team could generate a shot offensively until the Griffs tied it with 3:29 left. Junior Joe Rautenstrauch drew the defense in and found Haney for his fourth of the day, tying the score at 9-9.
The Griffs then took their first, and only, lead of the game with 1:45 left on a goal from Edwards, when the MAAC Rookie of the Year went around the cage and fired it into the upper-right corner. Callahan made a save with just over a minute remaining, and the Griffs forced a turnover with 20 seconds remaining to seal the win.
Callahan made eight saves to earn the win. Siena (11-5) didn't score a goal in the second half for the first time in 28 games.
Canisius won the opening draw of the game and had two good looks in the opening minute of the contest, but Siena goalie Tom Morr made one save and the other shot went off the post. The Saints scored first 1:55 into the game, but the Griffs came right back and knotted it at 1-1 on an unassisted goal from junior Nick Caldiero just over three minutes into the game. Siena then scored three straight goals, building a 4-1 lead with 8:23 left in the first quarter. Canisius stopped the run Haney picked up a loose ball and scored with 7:18 remaining to cut the deficit to two.
Canisius made it a one-goal game, scoring on their second man-up opportunity of the quarter. Giourmetakis scored from the right side off a feed from freshman Tim Edwards. The Saints stopped the run with a goal from Chris D'Alberti with 52 second remaining and took a 5-3 lead into the second quarter.
Canisius scored the first two goals in the second quarter as Gibbons scored easily after a nice drive and dish from senior Brendan O'Hagan to again make it a one-goal game. Haney then had his second of the day when he spun around and fired it low past Moor to tie the game at 5-5. Siena then scored three straight goals, and Giourmetakis stopped the run with his second of the day off a long feed from junior Hugh Weir. Siena pushed the lead back to three goals just 32 seconds later on the third goal of the half from Danny Martinsen and took a 9-6 lead into the locker room.
Notes: Senior Brendan Murphy also was named to the All-Tournament Team... Canisius played in the title game of the MAAC Championship for the second time in program history (2008)... Canisius defeated Siena for the first time in five meetings... Canisius is now 4-4 all-time in MAAC Tournament play, winning its last four games... Canisius and Siena met in the postseason for the first time in program history. Canisius won for the third time this season, and second time this weekend, when trailing at the half.