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2018 Men’s Lacrosse Year in Review: #40 Sacred Heart Pioneers

The Pioneers reached their second straight NEC Tournament appearance, thanks to Max Tuttle and the offense.

Steve McLaughlin

With the 2018 college lacrosse season complete, it’s time to start looking back at how all 71 teams did during the season, as well as what to expect from each squad for 2019.

We’ve already begun looking back to 2018 with some team recaps thus far and continued our series yesterday with Monmouth.

So with that, let’s continue the recaps!

#40 Sacred Heart Pioneers

Conference: NEC
2018 Record: 7-8 (3-3 in NEC play)
Postseason: Lost to Saint Joseph’s in NEC semifinals
Head coach: Jon Basti (5th Year)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: Max Tuttle (46)
Assists: Joe Saggese (21)
Points: Max Tuttle( 64)
Faceoffs: Jake Giaquinto (101-of-222; 45.4%)
Ground balls: Nick Albanese (69)
Caused turnovers: Joseph Cipoletti (24)
Goals against average: Brooks Dutton (11.40 GAA)
Save percentage: Brooks Dutton (48.9%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: LSM Nick Albanese (69 GBs, 16 CTs, 3 Gs, 1 A), D Matt Caracappa (26 GBs, 15 CTs), A Kevin Cop (16 Gs, 5 As, 19 GBs), M Julian Garritano (18 Gs, 2 As, 20 GBs), SSDM TJ Fitzell (19 GBs, 12 CTs, 1 G, 2 As), SSDM Joseph Choiniere (13 GBs, 7 CTs), FOGO Mike Calvagna (49.3% faceoff draws, 21 GBs)
Senior scoring departing: 55 of 250 points (22%)
Senior starts lost: 63 of 150 (42%)

Season Summary

Sacred Heart has vastly improved since going 2-14 in 2016. In 2017, the Pios were one of the more improved teams in the country by going 9-6 and reaching the NEC Tournament. They reached the conference tourney again in 2018, but did go 7-8 overall.

The start of the season went strong for Jon Basti’s squad, winning four of their first five games, including a season-opening 11-9 win over Stony Brook. But things fell apart in early March as Sacred Heart went on a four-game losing streak, which included a one-goal loss to Hartford. A little pick-me-up was needed, and the Pioneers got that in a one-goal win over Mount St. Mary’s.

Beginning with that Mount win, Sacred Heart alternated between wins and losses for the rest of the season, culminating in a two-goal loss to Saint Joseph’s in the NEC semifinals. All of Mount’s wins came against teams that did not finish with a record of .500 or above (Stony Brook at 7-8 was their best win record wise).

Junior Max Tuttle and redshirt-junior Joe Saggese led the way on offense with 60+ point efforts. Freshman Logan Liljeberg was third on the team with a 30-point mark in his rookie season, starting in all 15 games. Senior Kevin Cop and redshirt-senior Julian Garritano each racked up at least 20 points in their final seasons in Fairfield.

Junior Joseph Cipoletti led the starting defense with 24 caused turnovers and joined senior Matt Caracappa and sophomore Austin Pavone as close defensemen. LSM Nick Albanese helped ease the pain of Ryan O’Donoghue’s departure. Despite a solid freshman season, sophomore Brooks Dutton saw his numbers worsen in 2018.

Looking Ahead

It’s another season of defense being the key area of departures or the Pioneers. Albanese, Caracappa, and shorties TJ Fitzell and Joseph Choiniere are gone. It’s unsure if Choiniere has one more year of eligibility after playing in only three games in 2017. There’s a chance he could have medically redshirted then and hence would be eligible to play in 2019. To replace Albanese is Bucknell sophomore transfer Tyler Senerchia.

On offense, getting Tuttle, Saggese, and Liljeberg back are huge for Sacred Heart. Those three will be joined by junior Landon Kramer and freshman Jaden Walcot, who each scored at least 10 points last season. Look for guys such as Jake Lindahl, Connor O’Reilly, Drew Edwards, and Trevor Johnson to also get more time. With Mike Calvagna gone, Jake Giaquinto will need to be counted on more than in his first two seasons at the faceoff X.

Here’s who the Pioneers will be adding to their roster for next year.*

Sacred Heart’s Unofficial Class of 2018

Player Position High School
Player Position High School
David Bartkus Midfield Bedford (MA)
Peter Callahan Goalie Avon Old Farms (CT)
Jack Dillon Midfield Dover-Sherborn (MA)
Max Gilbane Defense Kent (CT)
Colin Hendrickson Attack Brewster Academy (NH)
Donovan Lacey Midfield Sherwood (MD)
Evan Motta Defense Bishop O'Connell (VA)
Alex Rice Midfield St. Augustine (NJ)
Joe Rice Defense/LSM St. Augustine (NJ)

*Compiled from a multitude of websites. Schools usually officially announce their recruiting class during the fall semester.


How many wins will Sacred Heart get in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    (14 votes)
  • 10%
    (5 votes)
  • 23%
    (11 votes)
  • 36%
    (17 votes)
47 votes total Vote Now