Detroit Mercy Stuns Top Seed Marist in MAAC Semis
from press release
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Senior goalie A.J. Levell made 17 saves and sophomore Mike Birney tallied three goals – including the game winner - as the Detroit men's lacrosse team upended top-seeded Marist, 7-6, in the MAAC Semifinals on Friday night at the Demske Sports Complex on the campus of Canisius. With the win, Detroit advances to the MAAC Championship title game on Sunday at 1pm for the second time in school history.
The 17 saves was one away from his season high and two away from his career mark as he was named the Pepsi MAX Player Of the Game, while Birney posted his fourth hat trick of the season.
Four other Titans scored a goal in senior Jordan Houtby, junior Tom Masterson and freshmen Andy Hebden and Ryan Callaghan, while sophomore Scott Drummond tied his career-best with three assists. Redshirt freshman Damien Hicks was 11-of-17 and tied his career-high with seven ground balls and Houtby recorded three caused turnovers and four GB's.
The Titan defense limited the MAAC Offensive Player of the Year Connor Rice to just two points on a pair of assists and caused 13 of Marist's 18 turnovers. UDM also won the battle of ground balls, 34-27, and held the Red Foxes to 0-of-2 on the extra-man attack.
The game was tied at 6-all with 3:28 left after the Red Foxes (10-4) scored two-straight goals to take away the Titan lead, but with 1:25 left, Drummond was able to locate Birney and the Second Team All-MAAC midfielder laced once past the Marist netminder to give UDM a 7-6 lead and eventually the final score.
The fourth-seeded Detroit (4-9) squad was down 4-2 with 6:32 left in the third when the red, white and blue went on 4-0 run. Marist had scored two goals in the third to take a 4-2 advantage, but then Birney beat his man with a high-rising shot to the back of the net. That was followed by junior Alex Maini winning a ground ball and passing it to the younger Hebden, who fired one in to knot it at 4-4 with 3:30 left.
The Titans then took their first lead taking advantage of a man-up situation as sophomore Brandon Beauregard found Callaghan and his strike made it 5-4 early in the fourth. It looked like the Titans would cruise from there, especially after Drummond and Birney got together for another goal to give UDM a 6-4 lead with 4:46 remaining, but the Red Foxes scored two goals in a minute span to tie it at 6-6 with under four minutes left.
It was a defensive battle from the start, but Marist did get out to a 2-0 lead with a pair of goals just 20 seconds apart at the 9:27 mark of the first.
Detroit finally got on the board late in the first quarter as sophomore Alex Wilson found Houtby and he beat the keeper with 2:42 on the clock. The game remained 2-1 for Marist until the closing seconds of the first half as Houtby caused a turnover and off that play, Drummond fed Masterson for the tying marker as the game was 2-2 at the break.
Levell had seven saves in the opening half and the Titan defense caused seven turnovers.
Senior Jamie Hebden had two caused turnovers and three ground balls in the game and Masterson and Levell finished with four ground balls of their own.
Detroit will now face the winner of No. 2 Jacksonville and No. 3 Siena in the MAAC Championship on Sunday at 1:00 p.m., for the right to earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. That game will also be live on ESPN3.