BETHPAGE, N.Y. (Mar. 18, 2014) – The Mercy College men's lacrosse team ran its home win streak up to seven straight games dating back to April 20, 2013 with a 10-8 victory over Saint Michael's College under the lights at Bethpage High School on Tuesday night.
Mercy improves to 6-2 overall this season, with both losses coming to Top-10 teams in East Coast Conference rivals No. 4 LIU Post and No. 10 NYIT, while Saint Michael's drops to 0-4 with its first loss to an unranked team.
The matchup was tightly contested in the first half as the teams went into the break tied at just 2-2, but a 10-goal third quarter broke the game open and the Mavericks came out on top despite disadvantages in shots (34-26) and turnovers (26-20). Mercy's typical dominance in the ground ball game (43-33) and on faceoffs (13-of-21) would make the difference.
Junior Jesse Wood (Binghamton, N.Y. / Seton Catholic Central) got the Mavericks on the board first, causing a turnover right in front of the opposing goal, picking up the ground ball and slotting it home for the 1-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.
Saint Michael's tied things up just over a minute later but was unable to capitalize on a pair of Mercy penalties as the first quarter came to a close. The Purple Knights struck early in the second quarter, however, to take the 2-1 lead and kept up the pressure, ripping shot after shot while the Mavericks scrambled to maintain possession of the ball.
Wood finally equalized at the 2:32 mark as sophomore Kyle Stockton (Medford, N.Y. / Patchogue-Medford) cut behind the net while Wood shook off his defender and broke open on the left side, curled back in with the ball and put it away to tie the game. Sophomore A.J. Pellati (West Islip, N.Y. / West Islip) made a key save on a point-blank shot from the right side to preserve the tie heading into halftime. Senior Kevin Glueckert (Bethpage, N.Y. / Univ. at Albany) dominated the faceoffs in the first half at his alma mater, winning 4-of-5 while the Mavericks held a whopping 22-10 edge in ground balls.
Freshman Daniel Speicher (Seaford, N.Y. / Seaford), who received his first career start, stepped up in the third quarter with go-ahead goals at the 14:25 and 12:20 marks, with the first coming on another caused turnover by Wood, who assisted on the score. Wood got back on the score sheet three minutes later, picking up a ground ball off a rebound from Speicher's initial shot and curling around the crease to give Mercy some breathing room at 5-3.
Saint Michael's allowed Mercy little respite, scoring twice within a 38-second span to tie things back up at 5-5 with 7:47 remaining in the third quarter. Stockton took a sharp pass over the cage from Wood and converted to put the Mavericks up 6-5 at 6:05, but once again the Purple Knights equalized at the 4:34 mark.
Mercy took control at that point as Speicher completed the hat trick with his second unassisted goal and found Wood just 36 seconds later to put the Mavericks ahead, 8-6, heading into the fourth quarter. Stockton then gave Mercy its largest lead of the game with his 10th goal of the season two minutes into the fourth quarter.
The Purple Knights attempted to stage a late rally, cutting the margin to one as both teams fought tooth-and-nail to gain possession over an eight-minute span, but Glueckert put the game out of reach with an unassisted blast from the left side and the final score line would read 10-8 in Mercy's favor.
Wood, the nation's points leader, paced the Mavericks with six points to bring his season total to an incredible 48 through seven games. The attackman completed his typical all-around line with four ground balls and two caused turnovers. Speicher totaled four points and grabbed five ground balls while Stockton notched three points on two goals and one assist. Glueckert, ranked third in Division II in faceoff percentage, maintained his perfect streak of 60-plus faceoff percentages with a 13-of-21 night and added eight ground balls. Junior Owen Krezmien (Buffalo, N.Y. / Canisius College) led the defense with a whopping five caused turnovers and picked up five ground balls while Pellati finished with eight saves in the cage.
Head Coach Jordan Levine and the Mavericks will look to tie the program record for consecutive home wins as they host Chestnut Hill College (2-3, 1-1) in a crucial ECC matchup on Sunday, Mar. 23 at 1 p.m.