Monster Second Half Sends RIT Past Union
from press release
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The No. 3 RIT (15-2) men's lacrosse team trailed 4-3 at halftime, but rallied back with a big second half to beat Union College (8-7) 13-7 in the semifinals of the 2013 Liberty League Men's Lacrosse Tournament on FRiday afternoon from Tiger Stadium. RIT, the tournament's top seed and defending Liberty League champion, will face third-seeded Clarkson University in the title game on Sunday, May 5 at 12 p.m.
Freshman Alec Sulesky (Medina, OH/Medina) led RIT with four goals, all of which came in the second half. Taylor Wisman (Seattle, WA/Inglemoor) scored two goals and had three assists, while Allister Warren (Toronto, Ontario/Malvern Collegiate Institute) scored two goals for the Tigers, who advance to the League League Championship game for the second straight season. Eddie Kiesa (Syracuse, NY/Jamesville-Dewitt), Jack Krzyston (Bedford, NH/Bishop Guertin), Brad Gillies (Oakville, Ontario/St. Thomas Aquinas) and Kyle Aquin (Hamilton, Ontario/St. Jean De Brebeuf) also had goals for RIT, and Pat Johnston (Norwell, MA/Norwell) picked up his 15th win of the season, making a career-high 21 saves.
Nolan Connors led Union with two goals and an assist. Rob Santangelo and Jonathan Andrews each had a goal and an assist for the Dutchmen. Stefan Basile took the loss in net, making 16 saves.
Shots were 44-38 in favor of Union. The Tigers won 17-of-24 face-offs, led by Tyler Brooks-Lambert (Seneca Castle, NY/Midlakes) who was 12-of-17 on the day with 12 ground balls. PJ Hart (Camillus, NY/West Genesee) won 5-of-7 face-offs and had four ground balls.
RIT was 1-for-1 with the man advantage, increasing their Division III-leading percentage to 55.2 percent (37-of-67). The Tigers killed off all six man-up chances by Union, including a 1:30 penalty in the first quarter.
The Tigers were 12-of-15 on clearing attempts, while Union went 14-of-19 on the afternoon.
RIT jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead, tallying three times in the first 2:47 of the game. Aquin made it 1-0 Tigers just 1:01 into the game on his 46th goal of the season. Gillies made it 2-0 RIT 1:11 into the quarter on his seventh tally of the year, and Warren capped off the run with his 31st goal of the season, giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead 2:47 into the game.
After a Union timeout, the Dutchmen stormed right back, scoring four straight goals and holding the league's top-scoring offense scoreless over the final 27:13 of the first half. Union out-shot the Tigers 31-11 over the first 30 minutes.
Nate Greenberg scored off an assist from Santangelo with 10:57 to play in the first quarter, cutting RIT's lead to 3-1.
Santangelo made it 3-2 RIT with his 11th goal of the season off an assist from Andrews to open the scoring in the second quarter. Adam Rosenthal tied the score at 3-3 with 9:46 to play in the second quarter. Connors gave the Dutchmen their first lead of the game with 4:53 to play in the opening half on his 20th goal of the season off an assist Nolan Stauffer.
RIT grabbed momentum back in the second half, scoring the first five goals of the third quarter, outscoring the Dutchmen 5-1 in the stanza, and 10-3 in the second half.
Sulesky opened the scoring at the 10:09 of the third quarter, on his sixth goal of the season, tying the score at 4-4. Warren scored his second of the game with 9:33 to play in the third to give RIT the lead back at 5-4.
Braden Wallace gave the Tigers a two-goal cushion on his 14th goal of the season with 7:36 to play in the third, and goals by Wisman and Krzyston gave the Tigers their largest lead of the game at 8-4 with 3:09 to play in the third.
Andrews broke the RIT run for Union on his fifth goal of the season with 56 seconds to play in the third, cutting RIT's lead to 8-5.
A five-goal run by RIT to open the fourth quarter broke the game open, giving RIT a 13-5 lead. Sulesky had three of RIT's five goals in the run, while Kiesa and Warren also scored.
Late goals by Richard Gregory and Connors made it a 13-7 final.
RIT and Clarkson will meet for the first time in the conference championship game Sunday. The Tigers beat Clarkson 11-6 back on March 23 and are 23-14 all-time against the Golden Knights. Krzyston and Aquin each had three goals to lead the Tigers, while Matt Gold and Corey Herrington each scored two goals to pace the Golden Knights. The winner Sunday earns the automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament.