Montclair State Wins Sixth Straight Skyline Title
from press release
MONTCLAIR, N.J. – The Montclair State men's lacrosse team put a stamp on the greatest season in the history of the program Saturday afternoon as the 13th-ranked and top-seeded Red Hawks scored the first eight goals and never looked back in a 17-4 win over Kean in the Skyline Conference Championship Game at Sprague Field.
Freshman faceoff specialist Brad Pietrucha (Bridgewater, NJ, Bridgewater-Raritan) went 19-of-25 at the "X" with a single-game record 13 ground balls while senior attack Sam Morrissey (Hackettstown, NJ, West Morris Central) scored five times lifting the Red Hawks to their sixth consecutive conference crown and NCAA Division III Tournament berth. The victory also upped MSU's record to 16-1 on the year, breaking the single-season record of 15 wins set in 1989 and equaled in 2010.
The Red Hawks will find out their NCAA fate on Sunday, May 4 at 10:00 pm in an online announcement on NCAA.com.
Kean, the second seed in the tournament, fell to 16-3 with two its losses coming to Montclair State. The Cougars will in all likelihood head to the ECAC Tournament as those pairings will be announced on Monday, May 5.
The two local rivals, meeting in the Skyline title game for the sixth time in the last seven years, were matched up for the second time in 10 days following a 10-8 victory by MSU in Union. In that game, the Red Hawks jumped out to a 5-0 lead after one quarter before the Cougars battled back to make it a one-goal contest the remainder of the way.
On Saturday, it was déjà vu for Montclair State with a little more as Montclair tallied all six goals in the first period. Junior midfielder Zach Schreck (Flemington, NJ, Hunterdon Central), who missed the first meeting, whipped in two shots from the right side 80 seconds apart for a 2-0 lead less than three minutes in. Midfielder Steve Danyluk (Raritan, NJ, Bridgewater-Raritan) followed with a man-up goal with 9:57 left and Morrissey's first a minute later made it 4-0. Sophomore Don Finn (Wall, NJ, Christian Brothers Academy) scored with 6:45 to play and Morrissey found Schreck with 59 ticks to go giving MSU a six-goal advantage.
Unlike the first meeting when Kean collected the first four goals of the second, Montclair State kept the pressure up with Morrissey scoring his second 1:24 into the period. It took seven seconds for the next goal as Pietrucha registered the "faceoff hat trick" winning the faceoff, scooping up the ground ball and scoring as the lead grew to 8-0 with 12:29 to play.
Kean finally broke the run midway through the second as Vincent Ferraro scored on a flat-angled shot from the left side. But Montclair tacked on three more goals starting with Finn's second with 4:33 left. Pietrucha won the ensuing faceoff and raced down the field before dropping off a feed to Morrissey who fired a shot into net making it two goals in six seconds for a 10-1 lead. Morrissey connected again with seven seconds left as Montclair went into the break up 11-1.
The Cougars scored two of the first three goals in the second half getting within 12-3 on Matt Speciale's man-up tally with 4:35 left in the third. MSU countered with a man-up goal by Brett Mangan (Maplewood, NJ, Columbia) and a goal by Michael Jevic (Voorhees, NJ, Eastern Regional) with nine seconds remaining as the Red Hawk lead went to 14-3.
Michael Schreck (Flemington, NJ, Hunterdon Central), Joel Van Der Wal (Columbia, NJ, North Warren) each had a goal in the fourth before Jevic closed out the scoring with 3:50 to play.
Senior goalkeeper Michael Dorn (Blairstown, NJ, North Warren), the Skyline Co-Player of the Year, made seven saves for the Red Hawks, who outshot Kean, 55-25 in the game including 20-1 in the first period. MSU scored on 3-of-8 man-up opportunities and got four ground balls from Dorn and three by Morrissey, Michael Schreck and Len Bellezza (Plainsboro, NJ, West Windsor-Plainsboro South). Skyline Rookie of the Year Ryan Young (Jackson, NJ, Jackson Memorial) forced a pair of turnovers.
Montclair's Skyline Conference title completed another dominating season in the league for the Red Hawks, who have been to the finals in seven of the eight years since the league formed in 2007. During that time, MSU has gone 46-3 in league play including a current streak of 23 straight wins in the regular-season dating back to 2011 and 31 games overall versus league foes that also includes eight Skyline Tournament contests.
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