Manhattan, St. Joe's on Verge of Ending NCAA Tournament Droughts

PHOTO BY RYAN SAMSON/SIDELINE PHOTOS

Saint Joseph's Evan Campbell doled out six assists Wednesday in a 19-11 win over LIU in the Northeast Conference semifinals.


Manhattan is one win away from its first MAAC men’s lacrosse championship and NCAA tournament appearance in 19 years.

The top-seeded Jaspers defeated Canisius 10-5 in the semifinals Wednesday night and will host second-seeded Monmouth in the championship game Saturday (1 p.m. ET, ESPN+). The Hawks advanced with a 12-5 win over St. Bonaventure.

Manhattan’s lone MAAC title came in 2002, when the Jaspers edged Mount St. Mary’s 9-8. They went on to the NCAA tournament that year, losing to Georgetown in the first round.

Saturday’s game will be a rematch of a double-overtime thriller in March in which Manhattan defeated Monmouth 9-8. Goalie Brendan Krebs made three of his 11 saves in overtime. It was one of nine double-digit save performances this season for the MAAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year — including a 12-save effort Wednesday in the win over Canisius.

The Jaspers were the top seed in the conference tournament despite dropping three of their last four games to close out the regular season. They also lost to Monmouth in both teams’ season opener March 6.

A win over Monmouth in the final would also clinch Manhattan’s first winning season since 2009.

Saint Joe’s-Bryant in NEC Final

Saint Joseph’s, ranked No. 18 in the Nike/US Lacrosse Top 20, scored a season-high 19 goals Wednesday in a 19-11 win over LIU in the Northeast Conference semifinals. The top-seeded Hawks (9-3) have won nine straight games and will square off with third-seeded Bryant in the championship game Saturday (1 p.m. ET, NEC Front Row/ESPN3).

Midfielder Evan Campbell had six assists and faceoff workhorse Zach Cole went 23-for-32, becoming Saint Joe’s all-time ground balls leader.

Bryant (8-3) advanced with a 14-12 win at Hobart. Freshmen Bennett Abladian and Aidan Goltz combined to score eight goals and Luke Caracciolo made 17 saves, including 12 in the first half. Five times over the last 17 minutes of the game Hobart pulled to within one goal, only to see the Bulldogs respond on each occasion with a goal of its own.

Saturday will mark the second NEC title game meeting between the two perennial conference powers. The Bulldogs went on the road to down the Hawks 10-6 back in 2015. Bryant, which is 5-0 in NEC finals in its history, will put its streak on the line against a Saint Joseph's program hungry for its first-ever league crown and NCAA tournament appearance. Despite being a five-time regular-season NEC champion, the Hawks have never won the conference tournament.







CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS

NEC Semifinals

Bryant 14, Hobart 12
No. 18 Saint Joseph’s 19, LIU 11

NEC Championship Game

Bryant at Saint Joseph’s – Saturday, 1 p.m. ET (NEC Front Row/ESPN3)

MAAC Semifinals

Monmouth 12, St. Bonaventure 5
Manhattan 10, Canisius 5

MAAC Championship Game

Monmouth at Manhattan – Saturday, 1 p.m. (ESPN+)

SoCon Semifinals

High Point 11, Jacksonville 9
Richmond 11, Air Force 6

SoCon Championship Game

High Point at Richmond – Friday, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

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