POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – The second seeded Quinnipiac men's lacrosse team clinched a spot in the 2015 MAAC Championship game on Thursday afternoon, as the Bobcats handled third seeded Detroit Mercy, 16-9, at Tenney Stadium on the campus of Marist College – the tournament host for the weekend. The Red Foxes defeated Monmouth in the second semifinal, leaving Quinnipiac and Marist to play for the title on Saturday, May 2 at 2 p.m. in Poughkeepsie.
Quinnipiac, who improved to 7-7 overall on the season, will appear in its second conference championship game in five years. The Bobcats last took part in a conference championship game in 2011 when Quinnipiac took on Mount St. Mary's in the Northeast Conference final. Saturday marks Quinnipiac's second MAAC Championship appearance as the Bobcats advanced to the MAAC Final in 2001.
Reigning MAAC Rookie of the Week Brian Feldman (Canandaigua, N.Y.) paced the attack with his second career five goal game. It was his third career game with five points, and earned him MAAC Player of the Game honors. Feldman, an All-Rookie Team selection, scored in each of the first three quarters, completing the hat trick early on in the second frame.
Equally impressive was junior Connor Meth (Basking Ridge, N.J.), who was the X-factor for the Bobcats. He tallied a career high of six points on two goals and four assists - setting the tone early for the Q. He scored Quinnipiac's first goal of the game – snagging four points by the halftime whistle.
Senior Michael Sagl (West Islip, N.Y.) continued his consistent play, scoring three goals and assisting on another. The assist put him into a class of his own, now owning the all-time record for most career assists at Quinnipiac. With the four points, he also crossed the 50-point plateau for the season – the second time he has done so during his four year stint.
Ryan Keenan (Oshawa, Ontario) equaled Sagl's output with three goals and an assist – setting a new career high for points in a season. He has 34 on the strength of 25 goals and nine assists, getting four points in a game for the fourth time this year. Pat Corcoran (Stamford, Conn.) and Matt Diehl (Towson, Md.) had multiple points too – Corcoran getting a goal and an assists and Diehl picking up two assists.
Ready from the opening whistle, it was complete domination for the Bobcats. Detroit Mercy scored first but the lead was short-lived when Quinnipiac went back-to-back with goals from Meth and Keenan. Detroit tied the score at 2-2 with 3:47 left in the first quarter, and that was as close as the Titans would get.
Quinnipiac rattled off seven straight goals – Feldman, Sagl, Feldman twice, Meth, Diehl and Matt Kycia (West Hartford, Conn.) – each scoring during the spurt. Quinnipiac claimed a 9-5 advantage on the faceoff and outshot Detroit, 20-14, in the first half – carrying a 9-3 advantage into halftime.
The Bobcats picked up right where they left off early on in the third quarter, scoring five of the game's next six goals to open their largest lead of the game, 14-4. The 10-goal cushion was more than enough for junior goalie Jack Brust (Baltimore, Md.) and the Bobcat defense – riding out the remainder of the game in comfortable fashion. Brust picked up his sixth career win, totaling 13 saves in the game.
Several statistics standout on the box score, none more important than Quinnipiac's 19-10 advantage on the faceoff. Connor Devane (Wilton, Conn.) was sensational, going 17-for-27 (.630) in the game – scooping up eight ground balls, two off his career high. Riley Palmer (Oshawa, Ontario) and Will Vitelli (Milford, Conn.) each went 1-for-1.
As potent as Quinnipiac's offense was, its defense was equally as effective. The Bobcats caused 12 turnovers in the game, while earning a 38-35 edge in ground balls for the game. Palmer, Brust, Chris Kendall (Dublin, Ohio) and Ryan Corcoran (Stamford, Conn.) each caused two turnovers. Ryan Corcoran had five ground balls for the second straight game – a career high – Brust and Adam Bellamy (St. Catharines, Ontario) each picked up four.
The MAAC Championship is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 2 at Tenney Stadium. The game will be televised live on Time Warner Cable and ESPN3. The winner of the championship game receives the league's automatic bid to the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
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