After defeating Nazareth College in a first-round NCAA playoff game on May 6, the Union Men’s Lacrosse Team advanced to take on the RIT Tigers, the 2015 Liberty League Champions.
During the regular season, the Tigers had defeated the Dutchmen several times, at 22-7 and 25-14. Unfortunately, the third time was not the charm for the Dutchmen, but they did put forth an outstanding effort, being defeated by a score of only 10-9.
The saga began for the Dutchmen when they hosted Nazareth in a matchup between the 14th and 15th seeded teams in the tournament.
Union started off the scoring about twenty seconds into the game when Tom Stanton ’16 netted his 17th goal of the season. Nazareth evened up the game several minutes later, then went on a two-goal run, giving the Golden Flyers a two-goal lead going into the final minutes of the first quarter.
Union’s Connor Hall ’15 cut that lead in half as he put in his fourth goal of the season with 1:52 to play in the first quarter.
Throughout the second quarter, the two teams went back and forth scoring. In the third quarter, Nazareth gained some momentum leading to their largest lead of the game.
The Golden Flyers were up by three with eight minutes left in the third quarter. Over the next few minutes, Jack Scheufele ’17, Charlie Ross ’15, Paul Alberti ’16 and Peter Richardson ’17 scored for the Dutchmen, leaving the score at 11-10 in favor of Nazareth going into the fourth quarter.
The Dutchmen tied the game up about four minutes into the fourth quarter off a score from Richardson. Then, Union went on a four-goal run, bringing the score to 15-11 in favor of the Dutchmen.
Goals were scored by Kyle Mason ’17, Nolan Stauffer ’16, Scheufele and Ross. The Golden Flyers attempted a comeback but were unsuccessful, scoring only one retaliating goal.
The final result of the game was a 15-12 Union victory. Goalie Stefan Basile ’15 had 11 saves in the victory. With this win, the team advanced to take on RIT in a NCAA second-round playoff game.
On May 9, the Dutchmen took to the field to challenge the No. 1-ranked Tigers in a contest played in Rochester.
Based on past games with the Tigers, many expected this game to be a blowout in favor of RIT. However, the Dutchmen made the Tigers fight for their victory.
Union started out the game with a two-goal lead off scores from Scheufele and Richardson.
Both teams went back and forth over the first two quarters, leading the game to be tied at five at the end of the second quarter. In the third quarter, Union scored three unanswered goals, bringing the score to 8-5 in favor of the Dutchmen.
The Tigers began their comeback with an early goal in the fourth quarter, but Adam Rosenthal ’15 answered for the Dutchmen, keeping up the team’s three-goal lead.
However, RIT then went on a three-goal run, tying the game with seven minutes left in regulation time. In the final minutes of the game, both teams struggled to find the back of the net. With 22 seconds left in the game, RIT’s offensive powerhouse Ryan Lee netted his 58th goal of the season, bringing the Tigers ahead by one.
The Dutchmen couldn’t find the time to put in one more and were defeated by a score of 10-9.
While this defeat is unfortunate for the team, it is spectacular when compared to the team’s other meetings with RIT, which resulted in a 17-point and an 11-point loss, respectively.
Basile was a force to be reckoned with in net, making an impressive 20 saves. Scoring was spread evenly among the players, with the team’s ten goals being scored by seven different Dutchmen.
The team’s close defeat is a true indicator of their determination, passion and grit.
While it is unfortunate, particularly for the team’s senior class, that the season came to an early close, this type of a result against a team as talented as RIT is encouraging for the future of this program.