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).
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.