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Men's lacrosse earns emotional home victory

By Ryan Calvi
On April 18, 2012

On what was a night filled with emotions for the memory of former Marist men's lacrosse player, Eddie Coombs, the Red Foxes improved to 6-4 overall and 3-1 in MAAC play with a 12-8 victory over Manhattan College.

            In front of a crowd of over 1,800, the team paid homage to their fallen teammate, peer and friend. Edward "Eddie" Coombs passed away on Aug. 6of this past year after being involved in a one-car crash in Horsham Township, PA.

Coombs was a popular player around teammates and was known for his big smile and heart.

"He was the kind of kid you get into coaching for," said Scott Nelson, his coach of last season. "He had the best smile. He was always smiling, just a great kid and a lot of fun."

Redshirt junior co-captain, Evan Guarini, was just one of the many players on the Marist squad who was touched by the implications of the game.

"It was an exciting game with one of our biggest turnouts in years," Guarini said. "It was awesome to get the win for Eddie, being that the game was dedicated to him."

Prior to the start of the game, Jack Doherty, was bestowed the honor of wearing Eddie's number 34 jersey for the game. Doherty represented Eddie with a five-point contest in which he scored four times and handed out one assist.

Connor Rice also had a five-point evening, scoring twice and assisting on three more. With the points, Rice was able to further extend his personal point-scoring streak to 40 consecutive games, which is among the tops in the nation.

Other Red Fox scorers included Drew Nesmith, Brett Bernardo, Mike Begley and Guarini.  Craig Goodermote made eight saves in goal for Marist.

Pregame emotions were running high as the game got underway. Manhattan, however, proved they would not be fazed by the ceremonies as they came out quickly and scored just 13 seconds after the game's opening whistle.

Trailing 1-0, the Red Foxes answered right back with a three goal run to take a 3-1 lead courtesy of scores from Nesmith, Bernardo and Doherty, respectively. Two late Jasper goals tied the game at three as the first quarter came to a close.

Manhattan played a strong second quarter, outshooting the Foxes 9-3 and not allowing a goal. The defense however, was able to hold the Jaspers to only two goals leading to a 5-3 deficit for the Foxes at the half.

The third quarter belonged to Marist, as both the defense and offense took control of the contest. 58 seconds into the second half, Rice scored his first of the game. A little over two minutes later, Rice set up Guarini for his lone goal of the evening. Begley then scored his only goal of the contest with 5:22 remaining in the period to give Marist a 6-5 advantage heading into the final period of play.

To open the fourth, the Red Foxes continued their hot streak and scored three unanswered goals by Rice, Bernardo and Nesmith, respectively. With a 9-5 lead in hand, the defense made sure they held on to get the win for Eddie.

"We got a lot of great leadership from some of our seniors," said junior defender, Ethan Fox. "That helped put the final nail in the coffin." Fox tied for the team lead with six ground balls on the evening.

By the final whistle, the score was 12-8 in Marist's favor as they succeeded in fully honoring Eddie's name on the night dedicated to him.

Marist will hit the road for their biggest conference game of the year this Saturday afternoon when they take on rival, Siena College, in Albany, N.Y. Marist trails Siena by one game in the MAAC, so a victory would put them at the top of the conference with two games to play.

"It's one of those games that you always circle at the beginning of the year because there is always a little more hype for it," Fox said. "We just need to play with a lot of effort and have a good week of practice. If we do that, we're going to have a great game."

Guarini later added, "Our ultimate goal is to win the MAAC and present Ed's family with a ring, so we aren't satisfied just yet."

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