By Thomas Scavetta
Assistant Sports Editor
On Saturday, March 14, the men’s lacrosse team improved to 5-1 on the young season after coming out on top in a back-and-forth battle against Molloy College. The Pioneers won by a score of 12-8 from Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium in Brookville, N.Y.
The duo of senior attackman Chris Caiazza and junior midfielder Anthony Berardis gave the Pioneers a 3-0 edge late in the opening quarter. Berardis and Caiazza each had one goal and one assist as they accounted for two of the three man-up goals for LIU Post on the afternoon.
In the second quarter, the Pioneers recorded four consecutive goals to extend their lead to 7-1 over the Lions. Junior attackmen Matt Bellando and Matty Beccaris, along with Caiazza and Berardis, all found the back of the net during the stretch.
However, the Lions reduced the deficit to 7-3 at the intermission, as sophomore attacker Connor Slane and senior attacker Joe Leonard both scored in the closing seconds of the period.
After heading into the fourth quarter with a 9-4 advantage, the Pioneers allowed back-to-back, unassisted goals by Leonard to make it a 9-6 contest with 13:25 to go in the final session. As Molloy put on the rally caps, the Pioneers absorbed the run and put it in the books as Beccaris and Caiazza each responded in a 17-second span to seal the deal.
The Green and Gold dominated in shots (39-25), and scooped up 31 ground balls compared to Molloy’s 25. In addition, the hosts were 14- of-20 on clears and converted on 3-of-7 extra-man opportunities. Junior goalkeeper Adam Winne made five saves in the cage for the Pioneers, while his counterpart, Ryan Toomey totaled 11 stops for the visitors.
Head Coach John Jez and his Pioneer squad will close out their three-game home stand on Saturday, March 21, when they will face off against Chestnut Hill College. The opening draw is set for 11 a.m.
On the same day, the women’s lacrosse team concluded its visit to the Sunshine State with an 11-9 loss to sixth-ranked University of New Haven in Melbourne, Fla.
LIU Post controlled the tempo for the entire opening half, jumping out to a 3-0 lead, while keeping the Chargers scoreless for almost 25 minutes. Junior midfielder/defender Honey Roche was quick to enter the stat-sheet scoring just 22 seconds in. She also dished out assists to sophomore attacker Stefani Vagelatos for the other two first half goals. Freshman goalkeeper Ollivia Kirk denied six of the eight shots she faced in the first 30 minutes. The Pioneers held a 5-2 edge at the half.
New Haven, however, fought the uphill battle and took over in the second half. After trailing 6-3 early on in the latter stanza, the visitors tallied four unanswered goals in under four minutes to take a 7-6 lead with 20 minutes remaining in the contest.
Pioneer sophomore defender/midfielder Cara Douglas evened up the ongoing chess match at 7-all, on a free-position score for her second tally of the game. With just ten minutes remaining in regulation, junior attacker Maya Syzmanski racked up three unassisted goals for the Chargers, good enough to secure the victory.
Vagelatos totaled three goals in the loss for the Green and Gold while Douglas and sophomore midfielder Connor Bird added two goals apiece. Roche had a solid outing with one goal, two helpers, and two ground balls. Red-shirt sophomore attacker Emily Delaney also pitched in with two assists.
The Pioneers are back in action Thursday, March 19, as they return home to host Philadelphia University, which marks the start of a three-game home stand at Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium. The opening face-off is set for 3 p.m.