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Men’s Lacrosse Ends Season in a Romp, Seniors Shine

MARCY, N.Y. – Senior Day lived up to its name on Saturday for the SUNYIT Men's Lacrosse Team (3-11, 2-5 NEAC), as the old dogs scored 14 of SUNYIT's 19 goals in a 19-4 blowout of visiting Wells College (3-8, 0-7 NEAC).

Prior to the game, SUNYIT's eight seniors Justin Shade, Denver Babowicz, Thomas Mokus, Jeffrey Melnik, Adam Reynolds, Jon Eguren, Brett Gifford, and Tyler Serva were honored.

Serva ended the ceremony but started the onslaught, sprinting out of the gate to score SUNYIT's first 3 goals of the game. The three-year starter, two-time NEAC All-Conference player, and all-around ironman had a game for the ages, netting a career-high 7 goals on just 8 shots, while dishing out 2 assists and compiling a dominant 10-for-11 record on faceoffs.

Serva wasn't the only Wildcat to record a spectacular swan song on Saturday, as teammate and 2013 1st Team All-Conference selection Brett Gifford (Cazenovia, N.Y. / Cazenovia) turned in one of his greatest performances. The senior long-stick midfielder played exceptionally on both ends of the field, leading the Wildcats on defense with a whopping 9 caused turnovers and 13 groundballs. Gifford's two-way play has always been unique and it was on full display Saturday, as the D-pole recorded a game-high 6 assists in addition to 2 goals of his own. Gifford is currently 4th in the nation in caused turnovers per game.

Fellow co-captains Jon Eguren (Vittoria, Spain / Cicero-North Syracuse) and Adam Reynolds (Johnson City, N.Y. / Johnson City) each scored multiple goals; Eguren with 2 scores to go along with 8 groundballs, while Reynolds's 3 scores gave him a hat-trick.

The Wildcats, who held a 7-1 lead at the half, extended the margin to 14-3 in the third period, allowing them to empty the bench and leading to a few buoyant moments such as sophomore George Valentin (Bronx, N.Y. / Herbert H. Leman) scoring his first career goal on an unassisted charge to the cage with 8:41 remaining. Valentin enthusiastically sprinted to his teammates to celebrate, drawing cheers from the SUNYIT crowd.

In addition to Valentin, freshman Joey Beyer (Long Beach, N.Y. / Holy Trinity) also scored his first goal of the year while picking up 2 assists, and Andrew Wurz (Utica, N.Y. / Notre Dame) added 2 scores while Shane Joswick (New York Mills, N.Y. / MVCC) added another. Nicholas Levanti (Clayville, N.Y. / New Hartford) trailed only Gifford for the team-lead in assists, recording 3 on the game.

In goal, senior Jeffrey Melnik (Yonkers, N.Y. / Stepinac) recorded his fewest goals allowed of the year, surrendering just 4 scores despite a relatively hefty shot total of 31 by the Express. Melnik made 8 saves and even recorded a caused turnover and a groundball. He is currently 25th in the nation in saves-per-game.