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HAMDEN, Conn. – The script couldn't have been written any better for the Quinnipiac men's lacrosse team on Saturday afternoon. The Bobcats mounted a furious second half comeback to defeat Monmouth, 9-8, on Senior Day at the QU Lacrosse Turf Complex, clinching a playoff berth in the upcoming MAAC Tournament.
Quinnipiac elected to take matter into its own hands, needing either a win or a Detroit Mercy loss to get into the playoffs. Trailing 7-3 at halftime, the Bobcats outscored Monmouth, 6-1, in the second half and celebrated at midfield when the final horn sounded.
In the final home game of his illustrious career, Michael Sagl (West Islip, N.Y.) paced Quinnipiac with four points on two goals and two assists. He extended his point streak to 44 straight games – serving as the nation's fifth longest active streak. He now has 164 career points on 73 goals and 94 assists – ranking third all-time in points, tied for eighth in goals scored and first in assists.
Brian Feldman (Canandaigua, N.Y.) and Ryan Keenan (Oshawa, Ontario) also extended their point streaks, each getting two points in the win. Feldman moved his streak to 10 games with two goals, and Keenan extended his streak to 11 games with a goal and an assist.
Four other Bobcats scored, Matt Kycia (West Hartford, Conn.), Nate Nibbelink (Hampstead, Md.), Matt Diehl (Towson, Md.) and Steve Bryant (Millersville, Md.) each getting one. Connor Meth (Basking Ridge, N.J.) added an assist.
Two of the MAAC's top goalies took the field in this one, both living up to the hype. Jack Brust (Baltimore, Md.) made 10 saves for the Bobcats, allowing just one goal in the second half of play. He made five saves in the third quarter and one in the fourth. Garrett Conaway made 13 saves for the Hawks.
A tale of two halves, Monmouth had the better of the play in the first half, leading 7-3 at the break. The Hawks led 3-1 after the first quarter, Monmouth scoring twice before Bryant got Quinnipiac on the board. Monmouth extended its lead to four goals, scoring four out of the game's next six goals before the halftime whistle. Feldman and Keenan scored for the Bobcats in the second frame.
After the intermission, an inspired Bobcats team quickly worked themselves back into the game in the third quarter. Kycia sparked a 6-0 Quinnipiac run that spanned nearly 21 minutes through the second half. Nibbelink pulled the Bobcats within two, Diehl made it a one-goal game, and Sagl tied the score up at 7-7.
Quinnipiac took its first lead of the game when Feldman scored on the man-up, leaving an 8-7 advantage for the home team. Sagl capped off the scoring for Quinnipiac, giving the Bobcats a 9-7 lead with 51 seconds left. Monmouth managed to score with 27 seconds left, but Riley Palmer (Oshawa, Ontario) corralled the final faceoff and Quinnipiac ran out the clock.
Very evenly matched on the box score, Quinnipiac went 10-for-21 on the faceoff, 13-of-15 on the clear and claimed six more ground balls with a 31-25 advantage for the category.
Palmer led the Bobcats' backline with four ground balls and three caused turnovers. Sagl, Keenan, Nibbelink and Carmen French (Lutherville, Md.) picked up three ground balls. Quinnipiac caused six turnovers in the game.
Monmouth, who falls to 5-7 overall and 2-3 in league play, can still get into the top four with a win in its final weekend. The Hawks were led by Ryan Schwartz who had two goals and an assist.
Quinnipiac is back in action on Thursday, April 23 with a trip out to Colorado Spring, Colo. to take on Air Force. Faceoff is set for 3 p.m. EST at Falcon Stadium.
The MAAC Tournament begins on Thursday, April 30 at the highest seed, which Marist College has clinched.
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