Red Hawks Claim Top Seed in Skyline Conference Tournament

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Published May 2, 2016
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The Montclarion
The Skyline Conference Tournament will begin on May 4th. Photo credit: Jessica D'Onofrio
The Skyline Conference Tournament will begin on May 4th. Photo credit: Jessica D'Onofrio

The Skyline Conference Tournament will begin on May 4th.
Photo credit: Jessica D’Onofrio

The Montclair State University men’s lacrosse team is in a strong position to win the approaching Skyline Conference Tournament after extending their win streak to four this week, with 14-7 and 19-7 wins over Kean University and Mount St. Mary College, respectively. The wins pushed the team’s record to 8-6 largely due to senior attacker Brett Mangan’s performances that earned him his second consecutive Skyline Conference Player of the Week Award.

The crowd of 314 at Kean Alumni Stadium saw Montclair State play the game their way on April 20. The momentum was always undoubtedly under Montclair State’s control, as the Kean Cougars (10-5) never scored more than two goals in a row. Montclair State finished with three scoring streaks of three or more spread evenly throughout the game, making sure to maintain their dominance.

Zack Schreck, senior midfielder and 2015 USILA All-American Honorable Mention,  led the team with four goals and two assists, as the team leader took on the role more than ever.

Senior attackers Don Finn and Mangan also had strong, identical lines of four points each, split evenly between goals and assists.

Senior attacker and valuable role player Dylan Heningburg had his second strong showing in a row with two goals of his own, showing the depth of the Red Hawks’ roster that exemplifies the “next man up” mentality that every team strives for.

The game featured multiple aggressive penalties, including pushing, illegal body checks and a conduct foul, as both sides vigorously fought for their upcoming conference tournament chances.

Montclair State kept the ball moving toward Kean’s net at all times, taking 44 shots total, nearly doubling that of the Cougars. This consistent effort led to prolonged possessions for the Red Hawks — an important factor that led to the team’s success.

Montclair State won most of the other important stats as well, posting an almost 50 percent  success rate in extra man opportunities while winning the turnover battle by six.

When the Red Hawks traveled back home for their game against Mount St. Mary College on April 23, they left nothing to chance.

In predictable fashion, Montclair State posted four unanswered runs of at least three goals, including streaks of six and seven. That prolific scoring ability led to an already whopping 14-2 halftime lead over the Knights (10-5).

If it wasn’t for a late four-goal run by Mount St. Mary, the Red Hawks’ lead would’ve been even larger, as the Knights only managed three goals through the mid-way point in the third quarter.

Mangan owned the game, as he took part in eight of the team’s 19 goals, scoring five. Perennial leaders Finn, Schreck and Wulster each had six, five and four point games, respectively, showcasing the lengthy list of top players that the Montclair State roster boasts.

Montclair State also nailed down their two man-advantage and followed up their penalty laden game at Kean with just three against Mount St. Mary.

Although the Red Hawks won the turnover battle 21-18, similar sloppy play could cost them against a better team down the line in the tournaments.

The Red Hawks look to be hitting their stride at the right time for a possible deep run in the coming NCAA tournament, as they’ve taken home a win in seven of the last eight games. Montclair State’s 4-0 Skyline record also puts them on top of the conference with only days to go before the conference semifinals begin on May 4.

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