No. 4 Limestone Deals No. 1 Dowling Opening Loss
from press release
GAFFNEY, S.C. – With many of the players back from the team that experienced a loss in the national championship a year ago, No. 4 Limestone (3-0, 0-0 CC) put those demons to rest as they handed No. 1 and defending national champion Dowling (0-1, 0-0 ECC) a 10-7 loss to open their title defense in an NCAA Division II men's lacrosse game on Saturday, February 23.
Senior attack Corey Rich (Sacramento, Calif.) was the catalyst for the Saints as he drilled three goals and had two assists for five points while adding four groundballs. Junior attack Todd Nakasuji (Ajax, Ontario, Canada) added a pair of key goals and senior attack Riley Loewen (Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada) had two goals, an assist and five groundballs.
Senior face-off specialist Jake Ternosky (LaFayette, N.Y.), going against the next best face-off man in the game in DC's Louis Riley, notched a game-high eight groundballs and gave Limestone's the offense the ball 11 times out of 21. Senior midfielders Connor DeVoe (East Rockaway, N.Y.) and Zach Cummings (Crownsville, Md.) each took advantage of Ternosky's work at the center "X" as they each had a goal and an assist.
Senior goalkeeper Christian Dzwileski (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.) was masterful in goal, playing all 60 minutes and totaling 13 saves, many of which came under heavy pressure, while allowing just seven goals.
Despite a slick field from constant rain leading up to the game, both teams came out sharp as the game truly lived up to the hype. Dowling's Michael Brennan got the Lions on the board at the 9:20 mark of the first quarter but was quickly answered by an unassisted score by Corey Rich just over a minute later at 8:07 to knot the score at 1-1.
Following a goal at the 4:52 mark by DC's Matt Crough that gave them back the lead, Limestone went on a tear offensively. They would score five of the next six goals over the next 22:50 to take a 6-3 lead just minutes into the second half.
Riley Loewen drilled an unassisted goal at 14:38 of the second quarter and freshman midfielder Reid Reinholdt (Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada) followed with another seven minutes later to give the Saints a 3-2 advantage. Dowling's James Tucci evened the score with his unassisted goal at 4:424 but Limestone would strike late in the half. Rich notched his second of the game at 1:37 and then Loewen found Connor DeVoe who promptly laced a shot past the keeper with eight seconds left to make it 5-3 at half.
Following Loewen's goal to get things started in the second half, the Golden Lion's Crough and Sheldon Burns notched back-to-back scores to cut it to 6-5 with 6:30 to play in the third but that would be as close as they would get. Corey Rich rifled his third of the game, second unassisted, at 3:57 and then assisted on Nakasuji's goal with 44 seconds to play in the period to put it at 8-5 entering the fourth.
Cummings would make it three straight Limestone goals as he took a pass from freshman midfielder Vinny Ricci (Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada) and put it to the back of the net for a 9-5 advantage at 13:21. The Golden Lions stepped up on offense, mounting a rally with consecutive goals by Kevin McElhone (12:30) and Billy Richardson (9:20) to cut it to 9-7 before Nakasuji ended any hope of a comeback when he took it himself with seven minutes to play.
That 10-7 score would hold up behind strong Saints defense as they knocked off the defending national champions, and No. 1 team in the country, in the first game of their title defense. While it may not completely avenge last season's 11-10 loss to Dowling in the NCAA Division II National Championship, it does put a pall on the start of the Golden Lion's 2013 campaign and ups a regular season win streak over them to two straight.
Matt Crough led Dowling with a pair of goals and assists for five points and added five groundballs while Billy Richardson and James Tucci each had a goal and an assist. Brennan, Burns and McElhone each had solo goals. Burns added seven groundballs and Louis Riley had five while converting on 10-of-21 faceoffs.
Limestone returns to the field on Tuesday, February 27 when they travel to Banner Elk, N.C. to take on Lees-McRae in their Conference Carolinas opener. The Saints have never lost to LMC, holding a perfect 18-0 record all-time. Game time is set for 4 p.m. in the mountains of North Carolina.
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