Worcester, Mass. (March 15) -- For just the sixth time in 30 all-time meetings, the Assumption College men's lacrosse team defeated Southern New Hampshire by a 10-9 final in Northeast-10 Conference play at the Multi-Sport Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore Connor Munisteri (Setauket, N.Y./Ward Melville) got the Hounds on the board just 1:06 into the opening quarter as he tallied an unassisted goal for his third score of the season. After junior Jeremy Buckley tied the game for the Penmen with 11:27 left in the first, juniors Peter Gersbeck (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) and Garrett Smith (East Syracuse, N.Y./East Syracuse Minoa) scored within 20 seconds of each other for the 3-1 advantage. Penmen junior Phil LaTorre closed the first quarter with a man-up goal, followed by the second goal of the game from Buckley that opened the second and tied the game at 3-3. The teams stayed within one goal of each other during the entire second quarter before Assumption eventually took a 5-4 lead into the halftime break. Junior Paul Curran (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) scored a man-up goal for his eighth score of the season as Munisteri assisted on the go-ahead tally.
Junior Ty Martina (Marshfield, Mass./Marshfield) extended the lead to 6-4, followed by a man-up score from Smith for Assumption's largest lead of the game at 7-4. The goal, which was assisted on by Curran, is Smith's league-leading 18th of the year and ninth in the last two games. Southern New Hampshire came roaring back though as sophomore Cameron Joyce scored twice, along with the third goal of the season from senior Rob Murray to tie the game at 7-7 with 1:22 left in the third.
Munisteri put the hosts in front to stay with 47.4 seconds left, firing a low bouncing shot from just outside the goalie circle for his second goal of the game and an 8-7 lead heading to the final period. Martina opened the fourth-quarter scoring with a rocket into the upper left hand corner for his second goal of the game and the 9-7 edge. Murray closed the game to 9-8 with 9:55 left and the Penmen nearly tied the game with six minutes remaining. LaTorre fired a shot from close range on Assumption freshman goalie Matt Comerford (Reading, Mass./Reading Memorial), who made the initial save and then knocked away the rebound as it was just about to cross the goal line.
Curran gave Assumption some breathing room with 4:27 left as he scored while falling to his knees just left of the net for the 10-8 advantage, but the Penmen made it interesting in the final minutes. On a delayed penalty call on the Hounds, SNHU's Joyce completed his hat trick as he scored off a pass from Murray with 59.8 seconds remaining. Joyce nearly tied the game with 10 seconds left, but Comerford turned aside the shot for his 16th stop of the game to preserve the one-goal victory in his first career start.
Martina led the Hounds with three goals and one assist, along with two goals and three assists from Curran. Munisteri had two goals and an assist and Smith added a pair of goals. Joyce posted a hat trick in the loss, along with two goals each from Murray and Buckley and two assists by LaTorre.
Assumption sophomore Nick Guarino (Avon, Conn./Avon) won 14-of-23 faceoff attempts to key the Hounds attack as Assumption was also successful in 16-of-20 clear attempts. The Hounds outshot the Penmen 42-30 in the game, converted 2-of-5 extra-man opportunities and forced 19 SNHU turnovers. Guarino had a team-best nine ground balls as well as the Hounds finished the game with 29.
Comerford finished his first career start with 16 saves in the victory, while SNHU senior Morgan Weireter had 14 stops as he falls to 0-3.
With the win, Assumption improves to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in Northeast-10 play after its third straight victory, while the Penmen remain winless at 0-3 overall and 0-1 in the league.
Assumption is back in action on Wednesday, March 19th as the Hounds host Saint Rose for a 4 p.m. start at the Multi-Sport Stadium.
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