Men’s lacrosse can’t solve Caito and Canisius


Photo credit: Avin Patel

Tyler Gallo, Contributor

MOON TOWNSHIP — The Robert Morris men’s lacrosse team (1-4, 0-0 NEC) hosted the Canisius Golden Eagles (3-3, 0-0 MAAC) on Saturday night under the lights at Joe Walton Stadium for a non-conference match-up. Coming into the game, the Colonials had beaten Canisius in seven consecutive contests dating back to 2011. This streak swiftly came to a halt thanks to the hot stick of Canisius senior attacker Mario Caito, who scored six goals, four of them in the second quarter, as the Golden Griffins bested the Colonials 12-8 in a game that was plagued by hellacious winds and heavy rain.

The first quarter started with it being completely dominated by Canisius. Three quick goals by Carter Stefaniak, Michael Sanzone and Jacob Buck gave Canisius a 3-0 lead midway through the first. However, the Colonials fought in the second half of this quarter with goals from Shane Majewski and Jake Boudreau to make it a respectable 3-2 at the end of the first quarter.

Canisius took a penalty early in the second quarter, and Justin Robinson capitalized on this as he scored his first goal of the season and tied the game up at three. This was short-lived, as Mario Caito for Canisius scored two quickly to make it 5-3. RMU’s Brandon Sulhoff answered back with his third of the season with a beautiful assist from Tyson Gibson, and it was 5-4 halfway through.

The rest of the second quarter belonged to Caito. He scored the next two Canisius goals, doubling his goal output on the season from four to eight in a little less than six minutes. With Jacob Buck scoring his second of the night soon thereafter, Canisius cruised into the second half leading 8-4.

The third quarter was back-and-forth as the Colonials looked to stop Canisius’ hot streak. Mike Carbone scored first for Canisius to make it 9-4, but quick answers from Austin Popovich and two from Tyson Gibson made the score 9-7 heading into the fourth quarter.

Layne Collins of Canisius opened up the fourth quarter with a quick goal to make the score 10-7, a stinger for the Colonials. They answered with another Jake Boudreau goal, but the deficit was too much for RMU to overcome. Mario Caito scored yet again with 2 minutes left thanks to a mistake by goaltender Alex Heger, and the Golden Eagles would go on to win 12-8. About a minute later, Caito scored his sixth and final of the night with a man up, making the score 12-8, which would hold. Canisius goaltender Brad Nordstrom turned aside 14 of 15 Colonial shots in the 4th quarter, stymying the Colonials.

Head Coach Andrew McMinn says that the struggling comes down to not being able to execute, “Our execution certainly lacked. We had a lot of guys not step up and play to their potential today.”

However, he believes that the string of non-conference games will prepare the team going forward into NEC play. “We’re gonna try and come out here and make sure we’re getting better,” said McMinn. “We were on an upward trend until today, we just went in the wrong direction tonight.”

The lacrosse team has only two days to reflect on this tough loss, as they host Marquette at 1 p.m. on Tuesday for their last non-conference game until April 10th when they travel to Lehigh.