NCAA Team Reviews: Sacred Heart Pioneers

Photo credit to Steve McLaughlin
Photo credit to Steve McLaughlin

For the better part of four months, many of us watched some exciting college lacrosse, whether it was on TV, online, or in person.  There were good games, which included all of Championship Weekend, and there were bad games, such as low scoring affairs and of course, the horrendous winter weather.  I take a look back at all 69 Division I teams and how they fared this season and what to look forward to in 2016.

Check out previous recaps: NJIT Highlanders, UMass Lowell River Hawks, VMI Keydets, Manhattan Jaspers, Canisius Golden Griffins, Robert Morris Colonials, St. John’s Red Storm, Wagner Seahawks, Binghamton Bearcats, Bellarmine Knights, Jacksonville Dolphins, Furman Paladins, Lafayette Leopards, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers, Siena Saints, Delaware Blue Hens, UMBC Retrievers, Dartmouth Big Green, Providence Friars, Mercer Bears, Penn State Nittany Lions, Hofstra Pride, Michigan Wolverines, UMass Minutemen, Monmouth Hawks, Vermont Catamounts


2014 Record 6-9
2014 Conference Record 4-2 (3rd in NEC)
2014 Scoring Offense 10.13 Goals Per Game (32nd in DI)
2014 Scoring Defense 11.67 Goals Against Per Game (T54th in DI)
2014 Goals Leader #8 Mike Mawdsley – Senior (29 Gs)
2014 Assists Leaders #3 Matt Gannon – Senior (21 As)
#12 Alex Miller – Senior (21 As)
2014 Points Leader #12 Alex Miller – Senior (47 Pts)
2014 Goaltending Leader #27 Jon Flood – Junior (.537 SV %)
2014 Face-Off Leader #14 Joe Kemp – Junior (.455 FO %)
2014 Ground Balls Leaders #14 Joe Kemp – Junior (43 GBs)
#33 Andrew Newbold – Senior (43 GBs)
2014 Caused Turnovers Leader #33 Andrew Newbold – Senior (27 CTs)
2014 Quality Wins Providence (11-10), Hobart (10-9)
2014 Bad Losses Binghamton (8-6), Dartmouth (14-10)


2015 Record 6-7
2015 Conference Record 2-4 (5th in NEC)
2015 Scoring Offense 8.62 Goals Per Game (54th in DI)
2015 Scoring Defense 11.69 Goals Against Per Game (T56th in DI)
2015 Goals Leader #18 Brian Masi – Sophomore (21 Gs)
2015 Assists Leaders #9 Alex Dodge – Junior (13 As)
#10 Jerome Rigor – Sophomore (13 As)
2015 Points Leader #9 Alex Dodge – Junior (30 Pts)
2015 Goaltending Leader #27 Jon Flood – Senior (.491 SV %)
2015 Face-Off Leader #3 Mike Calvagna – Freshman (.525 FO %)
2015 Ground Balls Leader #3 Mike Calvagna – Freshman (68 GBs)
2015 Caused Turnovers Leader #24 Ryan O’Donoghue – Sophomore (24 CTs)
2015 Quality Wins Vermont (21-17), Hartford (9-8)
2015 Bad Losses Providence (11-8), Mount St. Mary’s (10-2)


Sacred Heart couldn’t build from their very good 2014 campaign, falling by just a game of returning to the NEC Tournament. Most of their leaders from 2014 graduated, which can explain the slight dip in offensive production in 2015. The Pioneers can still compete for a spot in the NEC Tournament, but a loss to Mount St. Mary’s killed those chances this season.

Thank the brutal winter for a delay in the season for Sacred Heart, as their opener against Binghamton was cancelled due to horrible conditions. So they started their season on the road against High Point, which resulted in a 13-5 loss to the Panthers that had already had two weeks of games under their belt. They rebounded with a tight 10-9 win against Dartmouth in a mid-week affair before facing off against Providence three days later, which was an 11-8 loss. Their next three games were at home and those three games were all wins, against Vermont, Lafayette, and Robert Morris in their NEC opener. But things went downhill for a short bit, losing four straight to Mount St. Mary’s, a game that would later be big for final NEC standings, Yale, Hobart, and Bryant. The Pioneers had two 9-8 wins in a week, the first one on a Tuesday at Hartford, followed four days later against NEC rival Wagner, putting themselves in a must-win situation against St. Joe’s. They lost to the Hawks 13-8 and although in a three-way tie with Robert Morris and Mount St. Mary’s, the Mountaineers got the final seed in the NEC Tournament.

A disappointing season doesn’t mean that there’s nothing positive to look forward to in the future. Sacred Heart will have many of their returning players back in 2016 and will be in a similar situation in 2014. But with St. Joe’s stronger and Bryant and Hobart also competing for the same NEC title, and the rest of the league also competitive, the Pioneers will have to work hard in the fall and in spring practices to be a threat to compete for the NEC Championship.


Matthew DePietro Defense/LSM St. Mark’s (DE)
Danny Dowsett Attack Eastport-South Manor (NY)
Landon Kramer Midfield Columbine (CO)
Connor O’Reilly Attack/Midfield St. Anthony’s (NY)
Greg Price Goalie Holy Ghost Prep (PA)
Joel Iverson Midfield/FO Eastview (MN)
Justin Cerniello Attack Half Hollow Hills West (NY)
Jake Wilson Attack/Midfield Hershey (PA)
Joe Cipoletti Defense Half Hollow Hills West (NY)
Jacob Conklin Defense/LSM East Ridge (MN)
Matt Brewster Midfield/Attack Merrimack (NH)
Brendan Foley Defense/LSM South Windsor (CT)
Max Tuttle Midfield Castle View (CO)
Sean Patterson Attack Eden Prairie (MN)
Simon Quan Midfield Regis Jesuit (CO)

The Pioneers will replace 10 seniors with 15 recruits for 2016. Sacred Heart gets four kids from New York, two of them from Half Hollow Hills West, three kids from Colorado, including one from power Regis Jesuit, and three from Minnesota. They also get a goaltender from Holy Ghost Prep in Pennsylvania. Greg Price helped backstop the Firebirds to their best season in program history and will look to backstop the Pioneers into postseason success in the future. And although Simon Quan is coming from Regis Jesuit, Max Tuttle will be an excellent midfield addition, coming from Castle View and the #73 senior recruit in the country according to Ty Xanders.