|Gus Sturm||Tim Cleary|
|Ryan Saraceni||Colin Panayi|
SCRANTON, Pa.—If defense truly wins championships, then The University of Scranton men’s lacrosse team has to like its chances in the upcoming Landmark Conference tournament.
The Royals locked up a Landmark tournament berth today by holding Susquehanna University to one goal in the final 30 minutes of play en route to a 9-3 victory at Fitzpatrick Field.
Senior goalkeeper Ben Worthington (Jenkintown, Pa./Archbishop Wood) finished with nine saves and junior attacker Gus Sturm (Devon, Pa./Conastoga) finished with three goals and senior attacker Taylor Nelson (Chester Springs, Pa./Downingtown East) and senior midfielder Dillon McInerney (Hawthorne, NJ/Bergen Catholic) combined for four goals and three assists as Scranton improved to 8-4 overall and 4-0 in the Landmark.
Freshman attacker Connor Moran (Dalefield, Wisc./Kettle Moraine), sophomore midfielder Nick Kifolo (Lewisburg, Pa./Lewisburg), and junior attacker Austen Lein (New Vernon, NJ/Madison) scored a goal apiece and senior goalkeeper Will Torrence (Wallingford, Pa./Strath Haven) stopped 10 shots for the Crusaders, now 8-5 overall and 3-2 in the conference.
The Royal backline of senior Tim Cleary (Shrewsbury, NJ/Christian Brothers Academy) and Brendan Synan (Mahopac, NY/Mahopac), junior Ryan Saraceni (Lansdale, Pa./LaSalle), and sophomore Colin Panayi (Bedminster, NJ/Bernards) have been instrumental in holding three of Scranton four conference opponents to four-or-fewer goals.
Offensively, Scranton jumped out to an early 4-0 in the first period on goals by junior attacker Joe Johnson (Annapolis, Md./Gonzaga), freshman attacker Andrew Callaghan (Maplewood, NJ/St. Peter’s Preparatory), McInerney and Nelson.
The Crusaders did cut the margin to two before Sturm answered with a goal off a play set up by Nelson to give the Royals a 5-2 cushion by intermission. Susquehanna did close to within three on a man-up goal by Lein with 2:46 left in the third period, but the Royals regained the momentum moments later when McInerney tallied his 24th goal of the season, unassisted, to give Scranton a 7-3 lead entering the final 15 minutes of play. Sturm closed it out with back-to-back goals in the fourth period.
The Royals have now qualified for the Landmark Conference tournament for the third straight year and for the fifth time in the conference’s six-year history.
Scranton will take on Centenary College in Hackettstown, New Jersey, this Wednesday, April 17, at 3:30 p.m., before hosting defending champion Goucher College next Saturday, April 20, at 1:00 p.m. at Fitzpatrick Field. Both Scranton and Goucher enter next Saturday’s game unbeaten in conference play.