On Saturday Apr. 28, the Manhattanville College men’s lacrosse team defeated the Delaware Valley Aggies 16-14 to secure their first MAC Freedom Conference tournament berth in program history.
The Valiants were led by sophomore Gianni Ciffone with four goals. Seniors Christian Flores and Tyler Bentrewicz also contributed to the scoring surge with two goals apiece. After going down 3-1 at the end of the first quarter the Valiants turned on the jets, winning the second quarter 5-3 and the fourth quarter 6-3 to clinch the victory. The Valiants forced 15 Aggie turnovers, eight of them came in the five-goal second period for Manhattanville.
Entering the tournament as the #4 seed they will travel to #1 ranked Eastern University to take on the Eagles on Wednesday May 2 in the semifinal.
The season started off strong for the Valiants, winning their first four games including a huge away win against Farmingdale State. Following that win the team was national ranked. The team fell off after their hot start, losing five out of the next six.
After dropping their first conference game to King’s College, 7-13, the Valiants bounced back by defeating FDU-Florham and Wilkes University in their next two conference games. This year’s performance is substantially better than recent seasons.
To start, there are 29 Valiants wearing the uniform compared to the roster of two years ago that only had only 19 players. The sole increase in numbers has led the team to more wins alone. They are averaging just over 11 goals per game this year, 3 goals higher than last year. This is a direct result of the 41.1 shots per game they are averaging, a nine shot increase from last year.
This offensive surge has come from players young and old. Ciffone leads the team with 42 goals. Sophomores Nick Delia (21), Will Duval (19), and T.J. Caccavo (17) have also produced impressive offensive numbers as a young presence on this team. Graduate student, Andrew Murray in his final season as a Valiant has continued his consistent production over his four years with the team has racked up 34 goals this season.
On the other side of the field, sophomore Jason Freza, and freshman Mike McGrath, have split time in net for the Valiants. Since four-year starter Zachary Hoffman graduated last May, Freza and McGrath were thrust into the spot light. Combined they have a .542 save percentage, averaging just under 10 goals per game allowed.
With so much young talent the future seems bright for Valiant lacrosse.
They will head into Eastern on Wednesday in hopes to avenge their 8-13 home loss against them earlier in the season.