UTICA, N.Y. – The SUNYIT Men's Lacrosse Team (0-3, 0-0 NEAC) faced another tough test Thursday night, making the trip across town to battle Utica College (1-0) in the Pioneer's home-opener. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the home team came out firing and earned a 14-4 win to start the season.
The Pioneers jumped ahead early, netting the first 4 goals of the game – all by different players. Down 4-0, the Wildcats finally got on the board late in the first quarter as Nicholas Levanti (Clayville, N.Y. / New Hartford Sr High) found the net for his third goal of the season.
In the second quarter the Wildcat defense appeared to be holding strong as neither team scored through the first six-and-a-half minutes, but with 8:20 remaining in the half Scott Baron took advantage of a man-up opportunity to extend the Pioneer lead to 5-1. Utica went on to add another two goals before the Wildcats again scored late in the quarter, this time on a Tyler Serva (Chenango Forks, N.Y. / Chenango Forks) strike with 3:37 to go.
Already facing an uphill battle, the third period was unkind to the Wildcats. The Pioneers found another gear and hung seven goals on the Wildcats, taking a 13-2 lead before Adam Reynolds (Johnson City, N.Y. / Johnson City High School) scored his first goal of the season. Reynolds was a lone bright spot in a tough day for the Wildcats, as the senior seemed to find his shot – adding another goal in the fourth quarter to finish with 2 scores on the day.
The Pioneers were led by Scott Baron and Christian Reiller, each with three scores on the day.
In between the posts, Wildcat keeper Jeffrey Melnik (Yonkers, N.Y. / Stepanic) turned away a whopping 22 Utica shot attempts, though of course the high-save total was due in part to the shot volume from the Pioneers, who whipped an eye-popping 62 attempts on the day.
The Wildcats will look to rebound next with a home game against Mount St. Vincent. The game is scheduled for Sunday, March 16th, at 1:00 pm.