MARCY, N.Y. – The SUNY Polytechnic Men's Lacrosse Team (1-3) put together an incredible fourth quarter comeback on Friday night, scoring 4 goals in the final period while shutting out the visiting Privateers of SUNY Maritime (3-3), but the team couldn't come up with the final score necessary to tie the game, finishing just short in a 10-9 loss to the road team.
SUNY Poly held a 3-2 lead after the first quarter thanks to a pair of goals by Neil Nembhard (Commack, N.Y. / Commack) and an unassisted strike by reigning NEAC Offensive Co-Player of the Week Nick Levanti (Clayville, N.Y. / New Hartford). Andre Shattell (Syracuse, N.Y. / Henninger) assisted on Nembhard's first goal, while Andrew Wurz (Utica, N.Y. / Notre Dame) made the pass on Nembhard's second score.
Despite being out shot by the Wildcats in the first half, the Privateers roared back in the 2nd quarter to take a 7-4 lead. They were led in the quarter by Ian Danahy, who posted 2 scores and assisted on another.
Heading into the fourth quarter the Privateers had extended their lead to 10-5. A huge factor in SUNY Maritime's success all game long was the play of faceoff man Matt Hayes, who won a decisive 15 of 19 faceoffs, including 4-for-4 in the 3rd quarter.
The Wildcats, to their credit, finally figured out the 6-foot junior in the fourth quarter, winning the faceoff game for the first time all game with a 3-for-5 showing. It was the spark the home team needed, as they used the extra possessions to score 4 unanswered goals.
As it was in the first period, Nembhard and Levanti led the way for SUNY Poly – Nembhard by picking up his team-leading 4th goal of the game, while Levanti netted scored his second and third. The latter score came with just 1:26 remaining in the game, on a drive to the net by the 6-1 junior midfielder.
Shane Joswick (New York Mills, N.Y. / MVCC) won the ensuing faceoff, then followed it up with his second goal of the game just seconds later, bringing the Wildcats to within one with just over a minute to play.
SUNY Poly was able to win yet another faceoff following the goal, but couldn't maintain possession as a scrum for the groundball (which featured the majority of each team it seemed like) ate up precious seconds for the Wildcats. Eventually SUNY Poly was able to clear the ball with 26 seconds to go, but the Privateers were able to survive a shot from Nembhard (saved) and a desperation attempt by Wurz at the buzzer to come away with a 10-9 road win.
The Privateers faceoff prowess helped the team overcome a fairly sloppy game. SUNY Poly held substantial advantages in turnover margin, clear percentage, shots, and penalty minutes. The visitors also won the ground ball battle 51-26 and were able to kill all 7 of SUNY Poly's extra-man opportunities.
The Wildcats will look to keep the momentum of Friday night's fourth quarter going into their first NEAC competition of the year, which is slated to take place this Saturday, March 28th at Wildcat Field. SUNY Poly takes on the Hilbert Hawks, with whom they've had some excellent battles over the years, at 2:00 pm.