May 3, 2009

St. Lawrence Wins 4th Straight Liberty Crown

from press releases

CANTON, N.Y. - The St. Lawrence University men's lacrosse Class of 2009 finished their careers with a perfect 32-0 record in Liberty League play, as the No. 18 Saints dominated their cross-town rival Clarkson University on Sunday in the 2009 conference title game by the score of 15-6.  Senior Collin Moon earned Tournament MVP honors after scoring three goals while classmate P.J. Santora won the game's opening 15 face-offs to set the tone for the Saints' offense.

St. Lawrence (12-3) will learn their opponent for the 2009 NCAA Tournament tonight at 10:00pm when the bracket is released.  Clarkson finishes the season with a 10-5 record.

"This is truly a very special group," said St. Lawrence head men's lacrosse coach Mike Mahoney (picture below).  "To come out and play with such poise and fire against a talented team like Clarkson speaks to our senior leadership.  I'm so proud of this team and what they've accomplished, but we have to keep focused and begin preparing for another tough game this week."

Coach Mahoney's team came in clicking on all cylinders on Sunday, as the Saints built a 4-0 lead in the first quarter.  Seniors John Allen and Kyle Benton put the home team up 2-0 midway through the first, while Santora added a highlight-reel goal only seven seconds after Benton's tally for a 3-0 lead.  Senior Alex Slauson, the 2009 Liberty League Player of the Year, capped the first quarter scoring with an unassisted goal at 14:03.

Clarkson scored their first of three man-up goals at 5:09 of the second quarter to pull to within three at 4-1 when Tom Ross picked up his first tally of the game.  However, the goal only seemed to ignite St. Lawrence, as Santora's face-off skills allowed the Saints to run off six straight goals to build a 10-1 lead and take a stranglehold on the game.  The Cos Cob, CT native won the game's first 15 face-offs, as he and junior Nick Woodhull piled up the groundballs to keep Clarkson's standout attackman Greg Gibbons on the sidelines.

Santora assisted on Moon's first goal of the game which came only seven seconds after Clarkson's opening goal.  Woodhull then rifled a high shot past Clarkson goalie John Szvoren at 6:59 for a 7-1 lead.  Senior Peter Carroll, Benton and first-year student Caldwell Rohrbach then rattled off a goal each to give the Saints a 10-1 lead with 5:35 left in the second quarter. 

Though Clarkson would get goals from both Bryan Huff and Gibbons before intermission, Slauson added an unassisted goal for an 11-3 St. Lawrence lead at halftime.

Though Tyler Long's man-up goal only 38 seconds into the second half gave the Golden Knights a glimmer of hope trailing 11-4, the Saints put the game out of reach with three straight goals in the third quarter to take their largest lead at 14-4.  Moon scored twice while Rohrbach added his second of the contest to give the Saints' a ten goal cushion.

Clarkson's Tom Ross would cap the third quarter scoring with a goal at 12:10, but the Knights simply couldn't claw their way back into the game in the fourth stanza.  St. Lawrence's scoring was capped by junior Scott Smith to put the home team on top 15-5, while Erik Hilfinger added the final goal for Clarkson to bring the game to its final of 15-6.

"P.J. (Santora) and Nick (Woodhull) were so important for us in the midfield today, and Trevor (Scoon) and Carl (Festa) both played big defensively," added Coach Mahoney.  "And when we needed him to make some big saves, Thomas (Hollingsworth) answered the call and made seven stops in the second half."

Santora won 18-of-23 face-offs in the game, scooped up a game-high nine ground balls and added a goal and an assist.  Woodhull also added eight ground balls as well as one goal.  Hollingsworth made nine saves to earn the victory while Szvoren made 14 saves for Clarkson, all of which came in the first 45:00 minutes of the game. 

St. Lawrence finished with a 44-21 advantage in shots and an impressive 41-24 edge in ground balls.  Clarkson was 3-of-6 on its man-up tries, while St. Lawrence was 0-for-1.  The Knights were also haunted by 22 turnovers including 13 in the second half.

The 2009 Liberty League All-Tournament Team included its Most Valuable Player from St. Lawrence, Collin Moon, as well as Santora, Slauson and Scoon.  Clarkson was represented on the squad by Gibbons, Ross and Evan Renwick, who caused five turnovers and added six ground balls against St. Lawrence. 

Union goaltender Christopher Keinath was named the All-Tournament Team's netminder with 17 saves against the Saints in the semifinals, and was joined on the squad by teammate Brendan Kinnane.  Skidmore's Matt Levesque rounded out the 10-man squad.

Information regarding the St. Lawrence University men's lacrosse team will be posted online at www.stlawu.edu/sports/m_lax/ when it becomes available later this evening.


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