Conference Tournament Roundup: America East, Atlantic Sun, and Big East (Part I)

Drew Hallowell

Here's what you missed yesterday.

America East Tournament

(1) Albany 17, (4) Stony Brook 16 (OT)

The Seawolves scored five times in the fourth quarter to turn a four-goal deficit into a 16-15 lead with 3:34 remaining in regulation. An unassisted goal from Lyle Thompson with just five seconds left on the clock forced the extra period, and a Doug Eich blast 35 seconds into overtime sealed Albany's trip to the America East Tournament championship. The late-game heroics from the Danes appeared unnecessary after Albany strung together four goals over the final 6:49 of the third quarter to open up an 11-11 deadlock on the scoreboard. Stony Brook's resiliency on its home field, though, ultimately created a set of storybook circumstances, inuring not to the upstart 'dog but to the favorite (you're evil, Hollywood). The win for Albany ensures that the Great Danes remain in the NCAA Tournament discussion. Miles Thompson had nine points on seven goals and two assists for Albany while Matt Shultz had three goals and two assists on six shots for the Seawolves.

(3) UMBC 16, (2) Binghamton 10

Binghamton's surprisingly strong 2014 campaign came to a close in the Bearcats' six-goal loss to UMBC. The Retrievers struck early, building a 4-0 lead midway through the first period. Binghamton finally got on the board at the 7:44 mark of the opening stanza with a Michael Antinozzi goal, but it would take until the 12:02 mark of the fourth period for the Bearcats to pull within one -- 9-10 -- of UMBC. From that point on the Retrievers started to unload, scoring four goals in a seven-plus minute stretch that built UMBC a 14-9 lead, all the cushion necessary to leave Binghamton in the dust. Matt Gregoire was an animal for the Retrievers, putting in a four-and-three effort on 15 shots while Antinozzi had four goals on five shots for the Bearcats in the loss.

Atlantic Sun Tournament

(4) Richmond 14, (1) Mercer 6

Richmond's defeat of Mercer on the Bears' home field paves the way for the Spiders -- a first-year program -- to potentially earn a berth to the NCAA Tournament in their first tour of duty of Division I lacrosse. Richmond raced out to an early 6-1 lead against Mercer, using a six-goal run that started at the 4:33 mark of the first quarter and ended just 2:36 before halftime. The Bears responded with two goals in the final 1:30 of the half, but a four-goal push from the Spiders in the early and middle stages of the third period -- from four different goal scorers -- gave Richmond an insurmountable eight-goal lead that the Spiders would maintain over the rest of the game. Alex Hatem had four goals for Richmond to headline the Spiders' effort and Mike Nugent bravely stopped 19 shots in the Bears' loss.

(2) High Point 12, (3) Jacksonville 11

The Panthers appeared poised to run away from the Dolphins after building a 6-1 advantage early in the second quarter, but a six-goal push from Jacksonville -- two three-goal runs that sandwiched a Jamie Piluso bucket for High Point -- pulled the Dolphins square with the Panthers at seven at the 3:45 mark of the third quarter. A spurt from High Point over the last minute of the penultimate period and the first 4:39 of the fourth quarter gave the Panthers what appeared to be a safe 11-7 lead, but Jacksonville responded with a goal less than a minute later to pull within three. Adam Seal scored with 7:38 remaining in regulation -- what would ultimately become the game-winning goal -- to give High Point a four-goal advantage, and then Jacksonville proceeded to score three unanswered goals over a five-minute stretch that only eroded the Panthers' lead but did not erase it. Duncan Clancy had a one-and-three day for the Dolphins while Dan Lomas chipped in three goals and an assist for High Point.

Big East Tournament

(1) Denver 14, (4) Rutgers 7

The Pioneers pounded the Scarlet Knights at Villanova Stadium, composing a seven-goal win that quieted many doubters of Denver as a potential victim of conference tournament chicanery. The Pioneers broke the game open with an 11-2 push that started at the 10:29 mark of the second period and ended with 13:16 remaining in regulation. That push featured two four-goal runs from the Pios -- one in the second quarter that ended 1:15 before the break; the other in the third period that took under five minutes to complete -- and gave Denver a 13-4 advantage to which Rutgers had no response. Surprisingly, Joseph Nardella -- the Scarlet Knights' faceoff specialist and second team All-Big East performer -- went just seven of 20 at the dot, getting taken to school by Denver's Chris Hampton. Wes Berg had seven points for Denver on five goals and two assists and Jake Andersen made 11 saves for the Scarlet Knights before being pulled in the fourth quarter in favor of Kris Alleyne.

(3) Villanova 9, (2) Marquette 6

Reaction from Anonymous Eagle:

The outstanding inaugural campaign and this stellar second year outing wouldn't have been possible with the foundation laid down by MU's most experienced players. We have to extend a massive THANK YOU to Bryan Badolato, Matt Melnyk, Tyler Melnyk, Andrew Smistad, Jerry Nobile, Cullen Cassidy, and JJ Sagl, plus graduating redshirt juniors Ben Dvorak and James Raveret.

Reaction from VU Hoops

Villanova had definite control of the first half, and it showed up in the stat book as well. `Nova outshot the Golden Eagles 20-14 and won the groundball battle 20-11. The only fault in the first two quarters was 2 faceoff violations. Both teams cleared the ball with high efficiency, and Villanova was 10-11 and Marquette was a perfect 11-11. Marquette's biggest issue was turnovers as they had 9 to the Wildcats' 5.

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