Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse falls to Marist in MAAC title game

Photo+Courtesy%3A+M.J.+Baird
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Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse falls to Marist in MAAC title game

Photo Courtesy: M.J. Baird

Photo Courtesy: M.J. Baird

Photo Courtesy: M.J. Baird

Photo Courtesy: M.J. Baird

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HIGHLIGHTS:

If in late September you told Quinnipiac interim head coach Mason Poli that his team would be in the MAAC title game, down a goal, with possession and 45 seconds remaining in the game, he, and probably anyone else with a logical mind would not have believed it.

Well, that’s exactly what this season came down to.

After a Tyler Mackay shot bounced off the foot of Marist goalie Jake MacGregor, and into the air, Marist gained possession. The clock on this rollercoaster of a season for Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse ran out.

“It would have been real easy to give up and use [the suspension] as an excuse, but from day one it was that this doesn’t define us. To get to this point with the hurdles that we had to get over, I am very proud of the guys” Poli said after the game.

On September 23, the University announced that the men’s lacrosse team would be suspended indefinitely pending further investigation. Then head coach Eric Fekete was fired after 17 seasons at the helm. The program was suspended from all team related activities until January 1, and the seniors were suspended for the first five games of the season. Things at this point in time were not looking very promising in Hamden to say the least.

Some clarity started to emerge though, as Mason Poli was named interim head coach. Quinnipiac would be picked 3rd in the MAAC preseason poll and senior attack Foster Cuomo was named preseason player of the year for the conference.

The start to the season went as expected with Quinnipiac playing without their seniors, going 2-3 during this time frame. The seniors, though, would return for MAAC play and lead the Bobcats to a 5-2 finish which was good for two-seed in the MAAC tournament. After defeating Detroit Mercy in the semi-final, the entire Quinnipiac season came down to this championship game.

Coming into the game a big point of emphasis was going to be winning faceoffs. Marist entered the game sixth in the country in faceoff win-percentage, but freshman Demitri George did his part in keeping the Red Foxes at bay. George won 16 of his 28 faceoffs. Although, the freshman also had multiple infractions that would eventually lead to a Quinnipiac penalty.

“We got ourselves into trouble early with those two violations on the first two face-off’s, we dug ourselves a hole and gave them some extra man opportunities” Poli said. “In the second half it was about 50/50 so we were able to neutralize them, and being able to split those possessions were huge”

What this game came down to, as many championship games do, is which team gets the bounces and makes the most timely plays down the stretch. And on this day, Quinnipiac was on the wrong side of too many of these ever so precious bounces.

“We were able to put four quarters together. We had the ball down one with 45 seconds left, and hit a pipe. It’s a game of inches and unfortunately it didn’t bounce our way today” stated Poli on the performance on the day.

All in all, even after such a chaotic season, things are looking up for the Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse program. They will return five of their top eight point scorers as well as all-rookie selections Demetri George and goalie Nick DiMuccio. Jake Tomsik is primed for a monster junior year, one in which he could very well be named MAAC preseason player of the year after tallying 37 goals and 23 assists in a monster sophomore campaign.

Tomsik and the rest of the returning cast sure have a lot to reflect on in what has been perhaps the most chaotic season in program history, but one that despite the loss, was also one of the most fulfilling. With the offseason now upon us, there is one question that is left to be addressed.

Will Mason Poli remain head coach of the men’s lacrosse team or will Quinnipiac go in another direction? If this season is any indication, it is probably a safe bet to assume that Poli will be manning the sidelines next year and for years to come as well.


FULL POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE:

Mason Poli – Quinnipiac interim head coach