In a heartbreaking moment in front of over 400 spectators, with just under three and a half minutes left in the game, the Montclair State Red Hawks allowed a goal from the stick of No. 16 Stevens Institute of Technology midfielder Matt Ferentini, with it ultimately being the dagger that ended the game at Montclair State’s Sprague Field. In a game that never featured more than a one goal lead for either team, the last team to score predictably ended up with the win.
“It was a close game throughout and it’s not like we didn’t have chances,” said Montclair State Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach Michael Schambach. “We felt like at the end, we had three good looks on goal and they just made one more play than we made.”
With twelve minutes left in the fourth quarter though, MSU took a 7-6 lead after Red Hawk senior attacker Don Finn scored, giving the team their first lead since right after halftime. But in the minutes after that goal, a holding penalty by senior attacker Brett Mangan and a slashing penalty by junior midfielder Ryan Anzalone gave a power play opportunity to Stevens in the waning minutes of the game.
“We felt like we had two penalties called against us back to back which definitely affected that last eight minutes, so they scored a man-up goal,” said Schambach.
Four minutes after Stevens freshman midfielder Eric Radbourne scored that game tying goal, the final Ferentini goal was scored. But even with a rough ending to a tight game, the Red Hawks feel good about their performance.
“We thought we deserved to win and we don’t think it was anything special that they did,” said Schambach.
Senior midfielder Zack Schreck was once again the leader for the Red Hawks, scoring two goals himself along with senior and junior attackers Don Finn and Brady Wulster matching his contributions.
“Zach’s like our reigning, returning All-American and he had a few shots at the end of the game,” said Schambach. “So we go with our guys that kind of got us here, and we just need to execute a little bit better at the end of games.”
Coach Schambach feels two of his other top players in senior and junior midfielders Connor Cunningham and Corey Carlson can contribute even more, possibly propelling the team to a new level.
“So obviously yeah, we’d like to get more out of (Corey and Connor),” said Schambach. “But again, Corey’s been contributing and Connor has scored a bunch of goals for us.”
Going into the game, MSU felt confident after posting three straight wins, heavily due to the offense beginning to really come around. Even with the loss to Stevens still stinging, the Red Hawks are continuing their confident ways, right on time for the beginning of Skyline Conference play on April 9th against Stockton University.
“(Stevens was) a top-20 team, they were top-10 (too), so we feel pretty confident being able to play with them and feeling like we should’ve won the game,” said Schambach. “It’s not like a moral victory, but it’s kind of like we definitely believe in ourselves.”
After a first round loss to Middlebury College in last year’s NCAA Tournament, the Red Hawks are aiming higher after their recently strong performances.
“I think the fact is our guys are hungry to not just get there this year, but to be able to advance and make a run at the NCAA title,” said Schambach.