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Robert Morris' Kiel Matisz Voted NEC Men's Lacrosse Player of the Year
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Matisz
RMU's Kiel Matisz

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Moon Township, PA – After claiming the Northeast Conference regular-season trophy and earning the right to host the 2012 NEC Men’s Lacrosse Championship, the Robert Morris Colonials came away as big winners again, this time at the pre-tournament banquet, held Thursday evening in Moon Township, PA. In a vote conducted by league head coaches, senior midfielder Kiel Matisz (Stoney Creek, Ontario/Saltfleet) was named NEC Player of the Year, marking the third straight season an RMU player has captured the honor. He was also recognized as the top offensive threat in the league, garnering the NEC Offensive Player of the Year trophy as well. Bryant senior goalkeeper Jameson Love (Darien, CT/Darien) took home the NEC Defensive Player of the Year award, while teammate and freshman midfielder Kevin Massa (Huntington, NY/Elwood John Glenn) was recognized as the NEC Rookie of the Year. Andrew McMinn led the Colonials to 11 wins in his first season as head coach and his peers applauded him for that, voting him NEC Coach of the Year.

A native of Stoney Creek, Ontario, Matisz put on one of the best performances in Robert Morris history this past season. He scored 36 goals and handed out 22 assists for a career-high 58 points, just three shy of the school-record of 61 set by former two-time player of the year and All-American Trevor Moore in 2011. Through 14 games, the 6-5 midfielder ranked second in the league in goals per game (2.57) and tied for the top spot in points per game (4.14), a mark that has remained steady thanks to a 14-game point streak this season that fell in the midst of a 20-game streak dating back to last. His efforts have also placed him among the nation’s best as he was recently named one of the 25 nominees for the 2012 Tewaaraton Award, an honor given to the top lacrosse player in the country. Along with his two major awards, Matisz made his third straight appearance on the All-NEC First Team.

Bolstering the league’s top defense, Love was spectacular in net this season, maintaining an NEC-best 7.67 goals against average while making 191 saves on 314 shots for a league-leading .608 save percentage. He made double-digit saves in 13 of his 16 games played, and nearly broke the 20-save mark on two different occasions, with 17 against Vermont and 19 against Fairfield. Love, who currently boasts a 12-4 record, was also awarded the goalkeeper spot on the all-conference first team.

Joining his fellow Bulldog Love in the major award winners category, Massa count not have asked for a better freshman season. The Huntington, NY native was a monster at the faceoff X, winning 226 of his 360 attempts to finish the regular season with a 62.8 faceoff winning percentage, a mark that ranks nearly six percent better than the next closest competitor in the NEC and ranks fourth in the nation. He also gobbled up a league-leading 125 ground balls to go along with two goals and 11 points. Massa rounded out the awards ceremony by landing spots on both the All-NEC First Team (specialist) and all-rookie squad.

In his first season as head coach, McMinn made sure the Colonials did not miss a beat in 2012. Under the former Providence standout’s direction, RMU won 11 games for the first time in school history, captured its first conference regular-season title of any kind, and earned its second-ever national ranking. The offense, which led the country last season, has clicked on all cylinders and is on track to bring another NCAA Statistical Leaders plaque to Moon Township, averaging a nation-best 14.29 goals per game.

Two teams of 12 players - three attackmen, four midfielders, three defensemen, one goalkeeper and one specialist - and a 10-man rookie squad were also announced at the banquet.

The first-team attack was made up of two players who have previous All-NEC experience and a newcomer who tied for the league-lead in scoring.

Joining teammates Love and Massa on the first team, junior Peter McMahon (Wilton, CT/Wilton) had another sensational season at attack for head coach Mike Pressler and the Bryant Bulldogs. The now-three-time all-conference performer led his team in scoring with 21 goals and 44 points and contributed 29 ground balls to a squad that ranks first in the nation in that category, scooping up 37.94 GBs per game. In the league, he ranks seventh overall in points per game, averaging 2.75 per contest. Mount St. Mary’s Andrew Scalley (Arnold, MD/Archbishop Spalding) earned his second straight appearance on the All-NEC First Team after a season in which he finished first on the team in scoring. The Arnold, MD native netted 23 goals and handed out 21 assists for 44 points, averaging the second-most points per game in the league at 3.38. Junior Jake Hayes (Calgary, Alberta/Central Memorial) of Robert Morris seemed like he couldn’t miss when he had the ball this season. The Colonial attackman scored 40 goals on 69 shots, boasting the second-best shooting percentage in the country at 58%. He finished the regular season with 58 points, tying for the team- and conference-lead in scoring with teammate Matisz. Additionally, Hayes ranked in a tie for first in points per game (4.14) and occupied the top spot in goals per game (2.86). He also added 27 ground balls to his third-year resume.

At first-team midfield, Colin Dunster (Cos Cob, CT/Greenwich) of Bryant, Kyle Buchanan (Nepean, Ontario/John McCrae) and Bryant Schmidt (Great Mills, MD/St. Mary’s Ryken) of Mount St. Mary’s joined Matisz to complete four-man unit. Dunster finished second in scoring behind teammate McMahon with 31 goals and 43 points, ranking him sixth in the league in goals per game (1.94) and ninth in points per game (2.69). Buchanan put up the sixth-best points per game average (2.85) in the NEC after accumulating 37 on the strength of 15 goals and a team-high 22 assists. Through 13 games played, he averaged 1.69 assists per game, a figure that places him second in the league in that category. Schmidt, meanwhile, makes his third straight appearance on the first team after netting 28 goals and finishing third on the Mount with 34 points. He ranks fourth in the league in goals per game (2.15) and 10th overall in points per game (2.62).

Defensively, the All-NEC First Team saw the repeat selection of Bryant’s Mason Poli (Downingtown, PA/Downingtown East), a 2012 Tewaaraton nominee. Poli, who was named to the first-team a season ago, proved to be a threat on both sides of the ball, anchoring a defense that held opponents to 7.72 goals per game while contributing 19 goals and 25 points to the offense. He also scooped up 40 ground balls and caused nine turnovers. Joining him on the first team, teammate Glenn Maiorano (Easton, CT/Fairfield Prep) scooped up 24 ground balls while contributing to that stout defensive effort. Quinnipiac’s Chris Coppolecchia (Somers, NY/Somers) rounded out the group. He proved to be one of the top takeaway defenders in the country, causing a nation-leading 3.31 turnovers per game and finishing the regular season with 43 caused turnovers. He also added 61 ground balls.

The All-NEC Second Team Attack saw two players from Robert Morris – redshirt junior Dave Morton (Orangeville, Ontario/The Hill School) and senior Casey Abbott (San Jose, CA/Bellarmine Prep) – join All-NEC veteran Brett Schmidt (Great Mills, MD/St. Mary’s Ryken) in the all-star mix. Morton, making his first appearance on a league team, pumped in 27 goals and totaled the third most points in the league with 45. He averaged 1.93 goals per game, good enough for third in the conference, and ranked fifth in points per game, tallying 3.21 through 14 games played. Abbott added 17 goals and 28 points to the RMU attack while grabbing 22 ground balls and causing seven turnovers. Schmidt, making his third All-NEC appearance, matched teammate Scalley for the team-lead in points with 44 thanks to a 26-goal, 18-assist effort this season. He also tied Scalley in points per game (3.38) and ranked fifth overall in goals per game (2.00).

Bryant’s Max Weisenberg (Long Beach, NY/Long Beach), Robert Morris’ Kevin Brownell (Burlington, Ontario/Central), Wagner’s Nick DePhillips (Glen Ridge, NJ/Glen Ridge/Ohio State) and Sacred Heart’s Matt Ferrino (Orchard Park, NY/Orchard Park) dotted the second-team midfield. Weisenberg was a balanced scoring threat in 2012, netting 15 goals and dishing out 13 assists for 28 points. He also added 21 ground balls to his resume. Brownell chipped in 15 goals as well and accumulated 23 points for the league’s top offense. DePhillips led the Seahawks with 24 scores and 27 points while Ferrino tacked on 16 goals and dished out five assists for 21 points, ranking fifth in scoring on the Sacred Heart squad.

On defense, Sacred Heart’s Andrew Newbold (Loveland, OH/Loveland) played and started in all 13 games this season and helped the Pioneers limit teams to 11 goals per game. Statistically, he contributed 40 ground balls and caused 12 turnovers. Mount St. Mary’s Kevin Downs (San Rafael, CA/St. Ignatius), a rookie pick in 2011, earned the starting nod in 10 of his 13 games played and accounted for seven ground balls and seven caused turnovers. Ben Lewis (Cazenovia, NY/Cazenovia Central) from Robert Morris makes his second appearance on the second-team after picking up 25 ground balls to go with 17 caused turnovers this season.

Sacred Heart’s Ryan Hughes (Bayport, NY/Bayport-Blue Point) landed the second-team goalkeeper spot after posting 140 saves and a 4-6 record, including a victory over then-No. 15 Yale with 12 stops.

Robert Morris’ Mike Grosz (St. Louis, MO/Parkway West) rounded out the second-team as the specialist. The Colonials’ top faceoff man, Grosz had a 54% FO winning percentage after winning 172 of his 315 attempts. He also gobbled up 107 ground balls.

The NEC All-Rookie Team consisted of 10 players, four of which hailed from Quinnipiac.

Mike Sagl (West Islip, NY/West Islip) starred as the Bobcats top scorer this season, netting 16 goals and totaling 31 points. Matt Diehl (Towson, MD/Calvert Hall) ranked right behind him with 28 points, including a team-high 17 assists. Pat Corcoran (Stratford, CT/St. Joseph’s) placed fifth overall on the team with 10 goals and 15 points. Greg Pendergast (South Windsor, CT/South Windsor) completed the Hamden, CT group after picking up 21 ground balls and causing five turnovers as one QU’s starting defenders this season.

Bryant was well represented as well, placing three players on the team. Along with Massa, midfielder Brian Schlansker (Glenville, NY/Niskayuna) and defenseman Connor Dent (Havertown, PA/St. Joseph’s Prep) were honored as all-rookie picks. Schlansker scored eight goals and had two assists for 10 points while Dent started in 13 of 15 games played, contributing 23 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers.

Robert Morris defenseman Luc Magnan (Pine Falls, Manitoba/The Hill Academy) joined goalkeeper Matt Bukovac (Ashburn, VA/Briar Woods) as the Colonial representatives. Magnan played and started in eight of 12 games played and scooped up 18 ground balls for head coach Andrew McMinn, while Bukovac went 4-2 with a 13.59 goals against average and a .487 save percentage.

Mount St. Mary’s rounded out the rookie team with defenseman Kyle O’Brien’s (Arnold, MD/St. Mary’s) selection. O’Brien played in 12 of 13 games this season and helped the Mount hold opponents to 10.77 goals per game. He also picked up 12 ground balls and caused five turnovers.

2012 NORTHEAST CONFERENCE MEN’S LACROSSE POSTSEASON AWARD WINNERS
Player of the Year
Kiel Matisz        RMU    M    Sr.    Stoney Creek, Ontario/Saltfleet

Offensive Player of the Year
Kiel Matisz        RMU    M    Sr.    Stoney Creek, Ontario/Saltfleet

Defensive Player of the Year
Jameson Love       BRY    GK   Sr.    Darien, CT/Darien

Rookie of the Year
Kevin Massa        BRY    M    Fr.    Huntington, NY/Elwood John Glenn

Coach of the Year
Andrew McMinn      RMU

2012 NORTHEAST CONFERENCE MEN’S LACROSSE FIRST TEAM
Peter McMahon      BRY    A    Jr.    Wilton, CT/Wilton
Andrew Scalley     MSM    A    Jr.    Arnold, MD/Archbishop Spalding
Jake Hayes         RMU    A    Jr.    Calgary, Alberta/Central Memorial
Kiel Matisz        RMU    M    Sr.    Stoney Creek, Ontario/Saltfleet
Colin Dunster      BRY    M    So.    Cos Cob, CT/Greenwich
Bryant Schmidt     MSM    M    Sr.    Great Mills, MD/St. Mary’s Ryken
Kyle Buchanan      RMU    M    Sr.    Nepean, Ontario/John McCrae
Mason Poli         BRY    D    Jr.    Downingtown, PA/Downingtown East
Glenn Maiorano     BRY    D    Jr.    Easton, CT/Fairfield Prep
Chris Coppolecchia QU     D    Sr.    Somers, NY/Somers
Jameson Love       BRY    GK   Sr.    Darien, CT/Darien
Kevin Massa        BRY    SP   Fr.    Huntington, NY/Elwood John Glenn

2012 NORTHEAST CONFERENCE MEN’S LACROSSE SECOND TEAM
Brett Schmidt      MSM    A    Sr.    Great Mills, MD/St. Mary’s Ryken
Dave Morton        RMU    A    R-Jr.  Orangeville, Ontario/The Hill School
Casey Abbott       RMU    A    Sr.    San Jose, CA/Bellarmine Prep
Max Weisenberg     BRY    M    Sr.    Long Beach, NY/Long Beach
Kevin Brownell     RMU    M    R-Sr.  Burlington, Ontario/Central
Nick DePhillips    WC     M    Jr.    Glen Ridge, NJ/Glen Ridge/Ohio State
Matt Ferrino       SHU    M    Sr.    Orchard Park, NY/Orchard Park
Ben Lewis          RMU    D    Jr.    Cazenovia, NY/Cazenovia Central
Andrew Newbold     SHU    D    So.    Loveland, OH/Loveland
Kevin Downs        MSM    D    Jr.    San Rafael, CA/St. Ignatius Prep
Ryan Hughes        SHU    GK   So.    Bayport, NY/Bayport-Blue Point
Mike Grosz         RMU    SP   Sr.    St. Louis, MO/Parkway West

2012 NORTHEAST CONFERENCE MEN’S LACROSSE ROOKIE TEAM
Mike Sagl          QU     A    Fr.    West Islip, NY/West Islip
Matt Diehl         QU     M    Fr.    Towson, MD/Calvert Hall
Pat Corcoran       QU     M    Fr.    Stratford, CT/St. Joseph’s
Kevin Massa        BRY    M    Fr.    Huntington, NY/Elwood John Glenn
Brian Schlansker   BRY    M    Fr.    Glenville, NY/Niskayuna
Connor Dent        BRY    D    Fr.    Havertown, PA/St. Joseph’s Prep
Luc Magnan         RMU    D    Fr.    Pine Falls, Manitoba/The Hill Academy
Kyle O’Brien       MSM    D    Fr.    Arnold, MD/St. Mary’s
Greg Pendergast    QU     D    Fr.    South Windsor, CT/South Windsor
Matt Bukovac       RMU    GK   Fr.    Ashburn, VA/Briar Woods

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