Men’s lacrosse scorches foes in NE-10; key test scheduled today

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Courtesy/Hawks Athletics

Saint A’s Lax is ready for NE-10 playoffs.

Luke Sugar

It’s NE10 tournament time for the Saint Anselm men’s and women’s lacrosse teams. With their regular seasons coming to a close, now the Hawks have their eyes on the prize, looking to battle through their conference tournaments.

The men’s team is a perfect 11-0 on the season, assuring their spot as the outright #1 seed in the NE10 tournament. The women’s team is a very solid 8-2, in a high-powered and deep NE10 league. They earned a #2 seed in the NE10 tournament.

The men’s team is currently ranked #9 in Division II. They closed out their regular season with wins over American International and SNHU, giving them a share of the NE10 regular season title. Their 17-1 victory over American International was fueled by plenty of offensive firepower, as well as a strong effort on the defensive end. Seniors Ryan Richards and Matt Ward led the way with four goals each, and Ward also tacked on two assists. Freshman Chase Lilly had a hat trick to kick off his first goals in his college career. Senior Ryan Melley was the glue guy for the game, winning 17 gritty faceoffs and scooping an unbelievable 16 ground balls. The Hawks’ final regular season game was a 15-3 win over SNHU. Senior Ryan Richards left his mark on the game once again, putting up a career high nine points. He found the back of the net five times and set up his teammates with four assists. Senior Matt Ward bagged a hat trick of his own, and Sophomore Jack Andrews scored twice with four assists.

After this game, the men’s team had a bye in the NE10 tournament and played Assumption in the quarterfinals on Saturday. The Hawks bested Assumption by a dominant 25-5 score. Senior Matt Ward was huge for the Hawks with four goals and four assists. Senior Ryan Richards had four goals of his own with an assist. Sophomore Jack Andrews recorded a hat trick and found his teammates with two assists. With the Hawks’ beat down of Assumption, they look as dominant as ever and advance to the NE10 semifinals against #16 ranked Pace. The game is Wednesday May 5 at home.

The NE10 men’s All-Conference team was also announced earlier this week. Saint Anselm boasted an incredible nine names. Senior CJ Hart has been a brick wall in net, being rightfully recognized as NE10 goalkeeper of the year and placed on the All-Conference First Team. Co-captains and Seniors Matt Ward and Griffin Shoemaker rounded out the First Team. Seniors Joseph Hartigan and Thomas Mapstone, along with Sophomore Jack Andrews, were all named to the All-Conference Second Team. Senior Ryan Richards and Sophomores Ryan Slattery and Craig Yannone were selected to the All-Conference Third Team. Andrews, Slattery and Yannone also made the NE10 All-Rookie Team, with Andrews being named NE10 Co-Rookie of the year. The men’s head coach, Michael Sciamanna, was voted the NE10 coach of the year.

The Saint Anselm women’s team is ranked #21 in Division II. The Hawks closed out their regular season with two hard-fought, down-to-the-wire losses to #15 Bentley and #14 Assumption, as well as a huge senior day win over Stonehill. In their heavyweight battle against Bentley, the Hawks fell just short 9-7. The Hawks saw solid performances from Senior Kelsey Czarnota, Junior Jenna Balboni and Sophomore Lexi Palmisano, who each netted two big goals. In their next outing, the Hawks found themselves in yet another clash of two nationally ranked teams. #14 Assumption barely squeezed by 13-10. Senior Annie Richards was big for the Hawks with a goal and three assists. Junior Jenna Balboni and Sophomore Lexi Palmisano led the way for scoring, as Balboni put up a hat trick and Palmisano added two goals of her own. Junior McKenzie Robinson led the Hawks with six draws won. In their final regular season game, the Hawks pounded Stonehill 17-7, leaving their Seniors with a sweet taste heading into the NE10 tournament. Freshman Jess Sullivan was a key facilitator for the Hawks dishing out five assists and adding her own goal. Senior Kelsey Czarnota had a senior day to remember with four big goals and an assist. Sophomore Meghan Cotraro put up a hat trick and an assist and Sophomore Lexi Palmisano added a hat trick as well. McKenzie Robinson led the way in draws once again, winning seven.

The Hawks had their biggest game of the season Monday night May 3. After their bye last Friday, the Hawks kicked off their NE10 tournament play at home against #3 seed Franklin Pierce. The #2 seeded Hawks took care of Franklin Pierce 17-14. Junior Jenna Balboni exploded with six goals. Senior Kelsey Czarnota and Sophomore Lexi Palmisano helped out the Hawks with a hat trick each. Freshman Jess Sullivan poured on four points with two goals and two assists. Now the Hawks have their biggest test yet on Thursday May 6 away against #1 seed Bentley in the NE10 north divisional finals. This Hawks team is battle tested, competing with every opponent they’ve faced in a very tough NE10 conference. It’s clear the Hawks can play with anyone. The winner of this matchup will face the winner of the NE10 south divisional final in the NE10 tournament championship.

The women’s NE10 All-Conference Teams were just released on Tuesday May 4. The Hawks had solid representation with four names being honored. Junior Jenna Balboni and Senior Caroline Guzzardi were both selected to the All-Conference Third Team. Sophomore Lexi Palmisano and Freshman Alison Ferullo were both named to the NE10 All-Rookie team.

The Saint Anselm men’s and women’s lacrosse teams have both had very successful and memorable seasons thus far. But neither team is satisfied yet, and they know they are capable of even more. The NE10 tournament is the perfect stage for both teams to flex their muscles and ramp up for the NCAA tournament.