Utica, NY (3/6/2014) – The Utica College men’s lacrosse team won its season-opener for the fourth consecutive year as the Pioneers netted seven third quarter goals on their way to a 14-4 victory over local rival SUNYIT on Thursday afternoon at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium. The Pioneers have now won three straight against the Wildcats, outscoring SUNYIT 53-7 over the course of three seasons.
Utica outshot the visitors 62-25 on the afternoon and eight different players registered at least two points. Senior attack Scott Baron (Flemington, NJ/Cushing Academy) and junior transfer Christian Reiller (Salamanca, NY/Genesee CC) each netted a game-high three goals, while sophomores Trent Jacobs (Akwesasne/Brewster Academy) and Corey Thompson (Akwesasne/Salmon River) each chipped in with two goals. Two goals for Thompson tied his career-best. Senior TJ Benson (Central Square, NY/Paul V. Moore) and freshman Ross Cree (Akwesasne/Salmon River ) each recorded one goal and two assists for the Pioneers.
Utica junior face-off man Zack Stevenson (Elbridge, NY/Jordan-Elbridge) registered one goal, one assist and went 7-for-12 in the face-off circle. Senior defender Dan Duffy(New Hartford, NY/New Hartford) and Stevenson each led the Pioneers with five ground balls a piece. Duffy also had a team-best four caused turnovers.
The Pioneers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first 11:02 of the contest behind a goal each from Jacobs, Thompson, Baron and Reiller. SUNYIT responded with a goal of its own before the first quarter closed to cut its deficit to three, 4-1, headed into the second quarter of action.
Utica put three straight goals on the board to take a commanding 7-1 lead with 3:50 to go in the first half of play. Baron and Jacobs each notched their second of the game, while freshman Ross Cree (Akwesasne/Salmon River ) registered his first collegiate goal the close out the Pioneer spurt. Utica led 7-2 as the halftime horn sounded.
The Pioneers rattled off six consecutive goals in the first 7:02 of the third quarter to extend their lead to 13-2 as they essential put the game out of reach. Six different Pioneers scored in the stretch. SUNYIT outscored Utica 2-1 in the final 19:11 of action but it proved to be too late as Utica took home the ten goal victory.
SUNYIT was led by two goals from senior attack Adam Reynolds, while Nicholas Levanti added one goal and one assist. Wildcat junior goalie Jeffrey Melnik was busy in the cage as he stopped 22 shots in 60 minutes of action.
UC senior goalie Cory Spisak (Lisle, NY/Tompkins Cortland CC) made three saves and allowed three goals as he picked up the victory, while freshman net minder Kobi Johnson (Akwesasne/Salmon River ) came on in relief and stopped five shots and allowed just one goal in 15 minutes of work.
Junior defender Tom Byrne (Lancaster, NY/Lancaster) picked up three ground balls and caused two turnovers, as sophomore midfielder Jeff Pierce (Clinton, NY/Clinton)added four ground balls in the second half.
The Pioneers converted on 29-of-31 clears and picked up 48 ground balls compared to 33 by the visitors. Utica also went 1-for-3 with an extra man.
UC returns to the friendly confines of Gaetano Stadium when the Pioneers host Manhattanville on Saturday at 1 p.m.