Piper Hat-Trick, Quick Statrt Lead ASC to First NCAA Win, 12-7

Chris Day
ASC Sports Information


The Adams State College men’s lacrosse team jumped out to a 4-0 first-quarter lead and had another 4-goal run in the second half as the Grizzlies claimed their first ever NCAA Division II win in convincing fashion 12-7 over the visiting Grand Canyon University ‘Lopes, Sunday afternoon here at the ASC Lacrosse & Soccer Field.

Freshman attack Mac Piper registered his first career hat-trick in the victory while four other Grizzlies, including both Santamaria brothers (Peter & Michael) scored two goals each for the victors, who improved to 1-7 overall and to 1-5 in Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association play.  Meanwhile, Matt Barney, playing against many Arizona high school rivals, tallied his first three assists of the season while scoring the Grizzlies’ other goal.

Freshman Dakota Hunter also had a strong effort in net, recording 10 saves while earning his first career win.

The ‘Lopes, outshot 45-34 overall, had 2-goal efforts from Konner Klein, Kahai Sibley and Fred Whistle but fell to 3-10 overall and to 2-5 in the WILA with their fourth straight league loss since defeating the Grizzlies, 10-8 on Mar. 14 in Phoenix.

The Grizzlies’ victory, which avenged that setback, was keyed by the hot start that saw the Grizzlies go up 1-0 on a Peter Santamaria (Orem, Utah) goal from a Barney pass with 8:23 left in the first quarter.   Pieper then had two goals in the next four minutes, spread around a tally from Michael Santamaria as the Grizzlies built their comfortable lead.

After giving up a goal to the ‘Lopes and Kyle Bailey with 1:08 left in the first quarter, the Grizzlies extended their lead to 6-1 with second-quarter goals from Barney and Peter Santamaria.

Leading 6-2 at the break, the teams then battled defensively for over eight minutes of the third quarter before Fred Whistle scored his first goal of the season on one of the ten ‘Lopes man-up opportunities to close the game to 6-3.

However, the Grizzlies quickly responded as face-off specialist and midfielder Anthony Willner won back-to-back draws while going the length of the field to score his second and third goals of the season, putting the Grizzlies ahead 8-3 just 25 seconds after Whistle had made it a 3-goal game.

The Grizzlies then went ahead 10-3 early in the fourth quarter as Michael Santamaria and Piper tallied goals, which chased GCU’s net-minder Andrew Hunter from the game.

Hunter did have 16 saves in the game, including 11 in the first half which saw the Grizzlies dominate possession after winning seven of 10 first-half faceoffs.

The Grizzlies won 15 of the 21 overall draws and did a good job of maintaining possession as they were a stellar 22-for-25 on clearing opportunities while committing just 19 turnovers.

The ‘Lopes were guilty of 27 total turnovers, including nine on the Grizzlies’ tough defensive rides.

The Grizzlies were called for 10 total penalties which totaled eight minutes and went down two men on two different occasions, the second of which resulted in both of Klein’s goals in the middle stages of the fourth quarter, which saw each team tally four goals.

The Grizzlies went 0-for-3 on man-up tries.

The Grizzlies had a slight 66-64 edge in total groundballs as Willner, who won 12 of 17 faceoffs, scooped up a game-high 11.  Hunter had 10 to lead the visitors.

The Grizzlies, who have now played all three of their home games thus far in the last eight days, will remain at home to face WILA-leading Notre Dame de Namur (5-7, 5-0 WILA) next Friday at 4 p.m. in their final home contest of ASC’s inaugural season. The first-year Adams State College men’s lacrosse team will play fellow first-year and Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association rival Mesa State College at Invesco Field on Saturday, Apr. 23.

The game will begin at 4 p.m. and advance tickets are now on sale for just $10.

Those tickets can be purchased through the ASC Athletic Office or through the Grizzly players or head coach Jason Lamb.  Those tickets can also purchased online by clicking here.

Pre-purchased tickets will also include an exclusive field pass to watch pre-game warm-ups from the sidelines.  Those fans should meet at the Bronco horse statue on the south side of the stadium near gate 10 between 3 and 3:15 p.m.

The general admission tickets can also be purchased on the day of the game through the Invesco Field Box Office, but will be $12 on game day and will not include the field pass opportunity.

The clash between the Grizzlies and Mavericks will be the premier game of a tripleheader following a pair of high school games, which will begin at 11 a.m.   Those games will be the third place and championship games of the Littleton Cup, being contested by Chatfield, Columbine, Heritage and Littleton High Schools.

The tickets are valid for all three games of the event, being hosted by the Denver Outlaws of Major League Lacrosse.

Grizzly fans, parents and ASC alums are also encouraged and welcome to attend a pre-game tailgate party in the “Most Valuable Tailgater” area of Parking Lot C on the South Side of Invesco Field, starting at 2 p.m.

Tailgaters should bring their own food and beverages.  A grill will be available, but tailgaters need to provide their own utensils and charcoal.

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