Union Earns NCAA Berth with Double OT Win
from press release
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Junior midfielder Nick Alfonzetti scored at :36 of double overtime to lift No. 2 Union (12-4, 4-2 Liberty League) to an 8-7 win over No. 3 Rensselaer (11-6, 4-2 Liberty League) in the Liberty League Championship at Frank Bailey Field. The Dutchmen clinched their first Liberty League title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Tournament, the school's first in the 31 year history of the tournament.
Union junior attack Ted McKenna scored three times, and freshman attack Rob Santangelo added two goals and two assists to lead the Dutchmen attack. RPI's Wes Rudy had three goals and an assist, and Devin Arnold added two goals for the visiting Engineers.
With Union leading 7-6 late in the fourth quarter, RPI's Rudy scored at 3:13 to force overtime. After several key stops by both goaltenders, Union's Sean Aaron (14 saves) and RPI's James Manchester (16 saves), Alfonzetti created the game-winner on an effort play late in double overtime.
Cutting to the net from a sharp angle, Alfonzetti fired an initial shot that Manchester stopped. The rebound popped right back to Alfonzetti, who fired a high shot into the net for the game-winner, his fifth goal of the season.
In a tightly-played contest, the visiting Engineers held the lead for much of the first three quarters of play. Arnold, RPI's leading goal-scorer, gave the Engineers a 1-0 lead on a man-up goal at 8:59. McKenna answered on an unassisted strike at 5:13 to tie the game. The two teams continued to trade goals throughout the first half.
Goals by RPI's Rudy (2) and Arnold were followed by strikes from Union's Rob Santangelo, Brendan Kinnane, and McKenna, who scored with 39 seconds left in the second quarter to tie the game at 4-4 heading into halftime.
RPI opened up a two goal lead in the third quarter on goals from Andrew Miller (12:06) and Nick Billy (6:17). But Union rallied with two goals late in the third quarter from Brendan Kinnane (3:05) and McKenna (:12) to tie the game, and added another at 9:12 of the fourth quarter from Santangelo to take the lead, before RPI's Rudy sent the game into overtime.
RPI outshot Union 46-39 for the contest and held a 34-32 advantage on groundballs. Union outshot the Engineers 7-1 in overtime and held a 5-2 advantage on groundballs in the extra frames.