RIT Posts First Perfect Regular Season (15-0)
from press release
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - For the first time in school history, the No. 2 RIT men's lacrosse team finished the regular season undefeated after a 13-5 win over arch rival Nazareth College on a beautiful day at RIT Field. The win improves the TIgers to 15-0 on the season, the best start in program history and extends the program's longest winning streak to 15 games.
RIT clinches the Empire 8 regular season title and will host Ithaca in the Empire 8 Tournament Semifinals on Friday, May 6 at 4 pm at RIT Field. The winner will face the winner between Stevens and Nazareth in the championship game on Sunday, May 8 at noon.
RIT's defense was outstanding, holding Nazareth to five goals while forcing the Golden Flyers into 21 turnovers. Seniors MJ Kiekebelt (Caledon, Ontario/St. Andrews College/Aurora) and Bob Tonnesen had all-star days in their final regular season appearance at RIT Field.
Kiekeblet had seven caused turnovers, 12 ground balls and won four face-offs. He also scored a goal. Tonnessen tied a school record for wins in a season picking up his 15th of the year on Saturday. He allowed just five goals and made 14 saves.
Iric Bresser and Tyler Russell (Livonia, NY/Livonia) each had three goals to pace the Tigers offense. Kelso Davis (Freeport, ME/Deerfield Academy) and Jordan Collins-Hartwig (Buffalo, NY/Clarence) each had two goals and Jordan MacIntosh (Oakville, ON/Holy Trinity) dished out two assists.
After a slow start to the first quarter, Bressler got RIT on the board at the 11:55 mark with his first of three goals on the day.
Junior midfielder Ryan Speciale (Painted Post, NY/Corning West) gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead at 9:54 of the first quarter on an unassisted goal. It would be a lead RIT would not relinquish the rest of the game.
RIT opened the second quarter with consecutive goals :26 seconds apart building up a 4-1 lead. Russell scored on an assist from Ian Dominick (Severn, MD/Mt. St. Joseph) :17 seconds into the quarter, then Kiekebelt won the ensuing face-off and scored :26 seconds later to give the Tigers a three-goal lead.
After a Scott Castle goal cut the lead to 4-2, Russell scored his second goal of the quarter to give the Tigers a 5-2 lead.
Brian Wright scored with 2:59 to play in the half for the Golden Flyers cutting RITs lead to 5-3.
RIT scored three straight goals to open the second half and a build the lead to five goals. Collins-Hartwig, Bressler and Davis each scored for the Tigers.
RIT's defense held Nazareth scoreless for the first 14:09 of the third quarter. Brian Wright scored the Golden Flyers lone goal of the quarter with :51 seconds remaining.
RIT put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, tallying five goals while holding Nazareth to just one goal. Bressler, Davis, Collins-Hartwig and Russell each scored for the TIgers. Davis scored two goals in the run the last coming with 2:05 to play to make it a 13-5 final.
RIT held a slight advantage on shots 32-31 and won the ground ball battle 42-41. The Tigers won 11-of-21 face-offs and were 25-of-29 on clears. The Tigers forced Nazareth into 21 turnovers and won despite turning the ball over 31 times.
Friday, RIT begins its quest for a third Empire 8 title and second in a row. The Tigers defeated Ithaca back on April 9 at RIT FIeld. Jordan MacIntosh had two goals and three assists for the Tigers in the win.