Brookville, N.Y. - Tied 9-9 with just over two minutes left in regulation, sophomore attackman Matty Beccaris (North Babylon, N.Y.) scored the deciding goal Saturday to propel the 11th-ranked LIU Post men's lacrosse team to a 10-9 win against No. 5 Dowling in the East Coast Conference Championship final at Hickox Field in Brookville, N.Y.
The Pioneers (9-5) had the hot start in what was a back-and-forth contest versus the Golden Lions (12-4). In addition to holding the opposition off the board in the first quarter, LIU Post was rewarded with two goals for its efforts. Beccaris and sophomore attackman Ryan Slane (North Babylon, N.Y.) struck on unassisted efforts to give the green and gold a 2-0 cushion after 15 minutes of play.
But, Dowling fired back furiously in the second quarter, notching four unanswered goals over a four-plus minute stretch to go in front 4-2 at the 4:43 mark. Matt Crough (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada) bookended the spurt with goals, the last of which occurred on the extra-man opportunity. Jacob Harding (Georgetown, Ontario, Canada) and Chris Stemke (Selden, N.Y.) pitched in a marker and an assist apiece.
The green and gold would get a crucial goal, however, before the conclusion of the stanza to slow down the Golden Lions' momentum. Junior midfielder Connor Drost (Wading River, N.Y.), who was picked as the Most Outstanding Player of the 2014 ECC Championship, beat Dowling goaltender Frank Sommers (Brookhaven, N.Y.) to close the gap to 4-3 at the break.
In the third quarter, LIU Post came out firing, tallying three goals over the opening 4:57 of the period to grab a 6-4 advantage with 9:03 to go. Graduate attackman/midfielder Joe Costello (Minneapolis, Minn.) netted the equalizer on an unassisted effort. Junior attackman Chris Caiazza (Lindenhurst, N.Y.) put his squad ahead two-and-a-half minutes later.
Yet, the Golden Lions had another response. Kevin McElhone (Setauket, N.Y.) and Brian White (Bayport, N.Y.) knotted things up at 6-all with unassisted goals only 1:25 apart.
From there, the two teams exchanged goals, until Dowling rallied late to tie the contest again. Trailing 9-7, a Pete Schneider (Syracuse, N.Y.) even-strength tally and a Tom Cleary (Comsewogue, N.Y.) man-up marker evened the score at 9-9 with 2:22 remaining.
The ensuing faceoff was the key. Senior midfielder Dom Mantovani (West Babylon, N.Y.) won the draw from Michael Fitzpatrick (Wantagh, N.Y.), and eventually fed Beccaris inside the attack box. The North Babylon, N.Y. native then fired a shot inside the top-left corner of the cage for the eventual game-winner.
On faceoffs, Mantovani was an impressive 10-of-21 (47.6 percent). As a whole, the Pioneers were 11-of-22 (50.0 percent).
Head Coach John Jez and his LIU Post squad now await word on a potential bid to the 2014 NCAA Division II Championship. The selection show will be aired Sunday (May 4) at 7:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.
Provided by the LIU Post Sports Information Department.