Conference Tournament Thursday: No. 1 Seeds Go Down

(Photo Courtesy of Michigan Athletics)

With 24 teams fighting to extend their seasons across 12 games, the Thursday of conference championship weekend did not disappoint.

The day was headlined by four No. 1 seeds getting knocked out.

Michigan Topples Penn State

For the first time in program history the Michigan Wolverines will be heading to the Big Ten championship game as they took down No. 1 seed Penn State 17-15 on Thursday afternoon.

Trailing 10-8 at the half, two heroes would arise for the Wolverines in the final two frames: goalie Hunter Taylor and midfielder Justin Brown.

Taylor replaced Shane Carr after he struggled in a five-save, 33% save percentage first half performance. The freshman, who had started three games earlier in the year and played the second half of the regular season meeting versus Penn State, churned out his best performance of the season as he made eight saves with a 62% save percentage.

Between Taylor’s effort to stifle the Penn State offense and the work that the duo of Nick Rowlett (11-for-18, 61%) and Justin Wietfeld (12-for-17, 71%) did at the faceoff dot, the Wolverines were able to gain much-needed possessions to help lift themselves out of that halftime hole and eventually walk away with the win.

Michigan would indeed capitalize on those efforts, outscoring Penn State 9-5 in the second half. That included a game-changing 5-0 run to open the third quarter. That run pulled the Wolverines ahead 13-10 with 6:40 left in the quarter and they would never look back.

Junior midfielder Justin Brown came off the bench and scored two of the final three scores during that run. Brown’s first goal of the game, however, was arguably the biggest as it came just seconds after a strike from Michael Boehm and gave Michigan its first lead (11-10) of the day.

Michigan held a 16-11 advantage with 10:18 remaining. And while Penn State was able to come within two following scores from Grant Haus, TJ Malone, and Jake Morin, the Nittany Lions were never able to get closer. Taylor made two big saves in the final minute to preserve the Michigan advantage and ultimately seal the game.

Michael Boehm (3G/3A) and Josh Zawada (3G/2A) tallied six and five points, respectively, to lead the Wolverines offense. Jake Bonomi and Emmett Houlihan each had two goals along with Brown.

Jake Morin (3G/2A), Jack Traynor (3G/1A), and Kevin Winkoff (2G/2A) led Penn State. Jack Fracyon made 17 saves in cage with a 50% save percentage. 10 of those saves came in the first half.

The Wolverines move to play Maryland on Saturday for the Big Ten title. The Terrapins used a 13-5 run through the middle portion of the game to help them get past rival Johns Hopkins 14-9 on Thursday evening.

UAlbany Upsets Vermont

Coming into Thursday’s meeting, the UAlbany Great Danes had suffered eight consecutive losses to the top-seeded Vermont Catamounts. That streak included each of the last three postseason games in which the Danes had played in. UAlbany’s last win over Vermont had come in the 2018 conference title game.

However, by the time the final buzzer sounded on Thursday evening the Danes had not only snapped that streak but done so in dramatic, upset fashion as they took down the top-seeded Catamounts 10-4.

Freshman Silas Richmond lead the Danes’ offense with five goals while Ben Wimmer had three points off two goals and one assist. Peter Salit had three assists on the day.

Goalie Tommy Heller was the real difference-maker for the Danes as he stopped 19 shots with a 82% save percentage. LSM Jake Piseno led the defense out in front with three caused turnovers and three ground balls. Piseno held Vermont’s top offensive weapon Brock Haley scoreless.

It was indeed the defense which won the day for the Danes as they held Vermont off the board for the entire second half and for a total of 35:19 with the Catamounts last goal coming via Dobson Cooper  at the 5:19 mark of the second quarter.

UAlbany held a narrow 5-4 lead at the half and would score each of the final sox goals to pull away and earn the six-goal victory.

The Danes were able to pull away despite Vermont’s Tommy Burke mopping the floor with his performance at the faceoff dot as he went 13-for-18 (72%). The Catamounts were 0-for-18 shooting in the second half.

UAlbany will move to play Bryant in the America East title game on Saturday. The Bulldogs defeated Binghamton 12-11 in a tight second semifinal game Thursday evening.

High Point Mounts Comeback to Defeat Saint Joseph’s

In only year one the Atlantic 10 has proven to indeed be one of the more competitive conferences in college lacrosse.

On Thursday evening the High Point Panthers toppled No. 1 seed Saint Joseph’s Hawks 16-14. The Panthers trailed 10-5 at the half before mounting a fierce comeback through the final two frames of play.

Following a first quarter which was the two sided end with a 5-5 stalemate, Saint Joseph’s blanked the Panthers in the second quarter while putting home five scores of their own to make it a 10-5 game at the break. High Point, however, would catch onto a similar script as the Panthers held the Hawks to just four goals in the second half and put home 11 of their own.

A four-goal High Point run that saw Brayden Mayea net a goal and assist on another opened the third quarter and pulled the Panthers with 10-8. Carter Page and Levi Anderson would answer for the Hawks to put them back up 12-9. However, that Anderson score would be the last for a 15-minute plus stretch for the Hawks.

Brayden Mayea, Nick Murphy, Jack VanOverbeke, Ryan Hynes, and Jaxson Lamb each found the back of the net for the Panthers from the 5:55 mark in the third through the 7:05 mark in the fourth to give High Point the 14-12 lead. Reclaiming possession on a faceoff violation, the Panthers got off three shots to try and extend the lead to three but one hit a pipe, one went high, and one wide.

A Shayne Ryan save led to a fairly quick Hawks goal on the other end as Carter Page stopped the bleeding for Saint Joseph’s and cut the Panthers lead to 14-13 with just over two minutes left. Collin Hoben won the ensuing possession for High Point, sprinted up field, and found Jack VanOverbeke for a score. Hoben would win once again and Saint Joseph’s called a quick timeout. However, just seconds out of the break the Panthers were finding the back of the net again with Hunter Vines making it a 16-13 game at the 1:18 mark to effective put this one way.

Levi Verch caused a turnover and proceeded to scored a pole goal in the final seconds while the Hawks were on a man-up situation. The Hawks previous two shots on the possession before either hit the post or went wide.

Jack VanOverberke (3G/4A) has seven points to lead High Point while Hunter Vines had five points off three goals and two assists. Parker Green made 10 saves in cage.

Matt Bohmer and Carter Page each had hat tricks to lead Saint Joseph’s. Zach Cole went 19-for-33 (58%) at the dot.

High Point will face No. 2 seed Richmond in the Atlantic 10 title game on Saturday as they defeated UMAss 15-8 on Thursday.

Siena Explodes Late to Pass Manhattan

The Siena Saints are headed back to the MAAC title game for the first time in almost a decade after defeating the No. 1 seed Manhattan Jaspers 11-8 on Thursday night.

A three-goal run bookended by man-up scores from James McCoy helped Manhattan tie thing up, 6-6, heading into the final frame. The Jaspers, who hadn’t lead since being up 1-0 early on, would not be able to jump in front as the Saints outscored them 5-2 in the fourth quarter to take the win.

Rocco Santillo scored on the opening possession of the fourth quarter to pull Siena back in front 7-6. And while Manhattan would quickly strike back with a Tadhg O’Riordan goal to tie it once more just 10 seconds later, the Saint would punch back with a pair of scores from Pratt Reynolds and RJ Ihlefeld to make it a 9-7 game and help sway momentum back their way.

At the 6:22 and 5:08 marks Rocco Santillo and Christian Watts put home the final scores to help seal the deal on the three-goal victory for Siena. Manhattan got off eight shots down the stretch but couldn’t convert any of them. Christopher Yanchoris stopped two of those shots to help preserve the win for the Saints.

Yanchoris ended the day with 12 saves on the day to anchor the Siena defense. Andrew Rooney had a big day at close, causing five turnovers and grabbing five ground balls. Rocco Santillo (3G/1A) and Pratt Reynolds (3G) lead the way for the Saints offense.

Dan MacKinney led Manhattan with three points off one goal and two assists. Joseph Persico made nine saves in cage. Liam McDonough went 16-for-22 (72%) at the faceoff dot.

Siena moves to play Marist in the MAAC title game on Saturday. Marist topped Mount St. Mary’s 19-7 in the first semifinal game of the day.

Other Scores

  • Delaware beat Towson 11-8 to move to the CAA title game.
  • Stony Brook beat Drexel 13-10 in a game where the final score was closer than it looked to advance to the CAA title game.
  • Georgetown blasted Providence 19-8 to move to the Big East title game.
  • A big first half helped Denver past Villanova 16-9 to advance to the Big East title game.

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