LOUDONVILLE — The urgency was there in Saturday’s final quarter for the Siena College men’s lacrosse team, especially in the last few minutes.
Not so much.
“We’ve got to learn how to do that before it’s a little too late,” Siena head coach Liam Gleason said after his team’s disappointing, and consequential, 13-10 loss to Detroit Mercy in a MAAC matchup at Hickey Field.
The defeat left Siena in a precarious position in terms of qualifying for the four-team MAAC tournament. After a 3-0 start in MAAC play, the Saints have dropped their last three conference games and would need the benefit of a tiebreaker to advance to the league’s postseason even if they win their regular-season finale next weekend at Monmouth.
“We still have a chance, but now it depends on us winning and someone else winning,” said Gleason, Siena’s first-year head coach.
The Saints could still finish as high as tied for third place, but ended Saturday’s game only guaranteed to finish clearly above last-place St. Bonaventure in the MAAC standings.
“We’re in a tough spot now, but all we can do is control our own team and our next game against Monmouth,” Gleason said.
At halftime, Siena (3-3 MAAC, 6-6 overall) trailed 5-3 against Detroit Mercy (5-2, 8-4). Both goalies were busy in the opening two quarters, as each of Siena fifth-year senior Aaron Lewis and Detroit Mercy sophomore Logan Shamblin made 10 saves.
“In the first half, our defense did a fantastic job and our offense was getting looks, but their goalie played fantastic,” Gleason said. “He was making great saves.”
Detroit Mercy stretched its lead to 9-5 after three quarters and maintained at least a three-goal lead for the duration of the fourth. Siena got within 5-4 early in the second half after a goal from junior Dylan Pantalone, but Detroit Mercy responded with a 5-1 run to seize control.
“Every time we got one,” Siena sophomore Jack Kiernan said, “they got one back.”
Detroit Mercy received a game-high four goals from junior Seth Mendell, plus three goals and two assists from sophomore Brett Erskine, and a goal and four assists from senior Matthew Vangalen.
Siena received three goals from Kiernan, and two apiece from senior Mike Reilly and Pantalone.
Shamblin finished with 21 saves, while Lewis had 14.
While Siena has struggled in its recent MAAC games, the Saints still have the chance to put together their first winning regular season since they went 11-6 and won the MAAC championship in 2014. Siena hasn’t played in a conference tournament since that year, and went a combined 14-39 from the 2015 season through the 2018 campaign.
Gleason allowed registering a winning regular season “would mean a lot” to the program, but isn’t “something where we’d really be satisfied” if coupled with the Saints missing the postseason.
“But it would be a sign of improvement,” Gleason said.
Detroit Mercy 2 3 4 4 — 13
Siena 2 1 2 5 — 10
Detroit Mercy scoring: Kostus 2-1, Mendell 4-0, Vangalen 1-4, Lubin 1-0, Voorhis 2-1, Erskine 3-2. Siena scoring: Lantieri 1-0, Cook 1-2, Reilly 2-2, Habich 1-1, Munn 0-2, Kiernan 3-1, Pantalone 2-0.
Goalies: Detroit Mercy, Shamblin, 21 saves. Siena, Lewis, 14 saves.
Reach Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.