The Canisius College men’s lacrosse team could never overcome a five-goal second quarter run by Siena as the Saints held on to a 14-11 victory in the MAAC Semifinals on Thursday afternoon. The Griffs finish their season with a 7-8 record, while Siena improves to 10-5 and advances to Saturday’s championship game.
“Lacrosse is a simple game and it comes down to inches and bounces a lot of times,” said Canisius head coach Randy Mearns. “Siena got a few more bounces today and deservedly so. We lost some 50-50 ground-ball battles that we really needed to win. It’s heartbreaking as we worked hard for this moment but just came up short. It’s tough for the team and tough for coaches. It’s tough to put all your energy into something and it doesn’t end up where you want it.”
Sophomores Billy Jacobbi and Nick Tuttle led the Canisius attack with three goals each. Juniors Austin Romantic and Tim Edwards and freshman Jeff Edwards also chipped in three points with Romantic scoring two goals to go along with one assist, while the Edwards brothers both recorded one goal and two assists. Senior long-stick midfielder Kevin Collins rounded out the scoring for Canisius with one tally.
Junior Alex Govenettio recorded 10 saves to take the loss in net. Tim Edwards also led the Griffs with two caused turnovers on the day.
Canisius started the contest strong and raced to a 3-1 lead after 15 minutes of play. Tuttle and Tim Edwards connected on a give-and-go with Tuttle finishing just 99 seconds into the game for the 1-0 lead. Jeff Edwards then found Jacobbi for his first of the afternoon as Canisius led, 2-0, less than five minutes in. Siena answered with a man-up goal in the only extra-man chance of the day but Tim Edwards found Romantic open in front and the junior scored on a turn-around for the 3-1 advantage after one quarter.
Siena, however, responded in the second quarter and took a lead it would never relinquish with a five-goal run. The Saints rallied off the five-straight tallies in the first eight minutes of the period for a 6-3 lead. Tim Edwards finally ended the rally with a nice unassisted goal to send the teams into the intermission with the Saints ahead, 6-4.
The Griffs would pull within one, 8-7, with 4:46 remaining in the third after a pair of goals from Tuttle – completing his first collegiate hat trick – and a tally from Jacobbi. However, the Saints quickly reclaimed their multi-goal advantage and finished the quarter with three-straight scores, punctuated by a goal with just three seconds left, for an 11-7 lead through 45 minutes of action.
Canisius would score three of the first four goals in the final period of play to trim the Siena lead to two, 12-10. Collins scored on the period’s first possession and after a Siena tally, goals by Romantic and Jeff Edwards made the contest a tight 12-10 game with 7:35 remaining in regulation.
The Griffs would gain possession looking to inch back within a goal but a turnover led to a transition goal for the Saints on the other end for the 13-10 advantage. Siena would then add a tally with the Canisius netminder out challenging for the ball before Jacobbi finished the scoring with his third of the day for the 14-11 final.
Siena finished the contest with a slight advantage in shots, 38-36. The Saints would also win the battle at the faceoff X, 18-11, and in ground balls, 29-20.
Conor Prunty led Siena with four goals, while Tommy Cordts recorded 12 saves in the winning effort. The Saints advance to face the winner of the afternoon’s second semifinal between Marist and Detroit on Saturday at 11 a.m.
Game Notes: The loss ended a four-game winning streak in the MAAC Tournament for Canisius after the Griffs had won the championship in their last two trips (2008 and 2012) … The Griffs have played the Saints more than any other school with the rivals meeting for the 27th time … It was the second postseason meeting between the teams after Canisius earned a 10-9 win in the 2012 MAAC Championship … With his three goals, Jacobbi finished the season with a team-best 23 tallies … Tim Edwards finished the year by leading the Griffs with 44 points, 29 assists, 83 ground balls and a .611 faceoff percentage … The game marked the final contest for three Canisius seniors – midfielders Dylan Knopfke and Cody Soberanes and defender DJ Giacobbo … The Griffs will return 99.2 percent of the team’s goals (128-of-129), 96.1 percent of their assists (73-of-76), 98.1 percent of their points (201-of-205), 93.1 percent of their ground balls (364-of-391) and both goalies next season.