Keydets Set to Host Army in Home Opener
Courtesy: VMIKeydets.com  
Release: 02/18/2011
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Courtesy: VMIKeydets.com

KEYDETS WELCOME NATIONALLY-RANKED ARMY
VMI will open its 2011 home schedule Sat., Feb. 19 against No. 12/13 Army at 1 p.m from Foster Stadium, The Keydets are 1-1 on the season, and are coming off of a 15-9 win in Macon, Ga. against Mercer on Wednesday.  Due to the fantastic weather in the Lexington area, the game will be played on VMI’s Foster Stadium. Army is 1-1 on the year, losing to No. 16/17 UMass 8-5 on Feb. 12.  The trip from West Point to Lexington is Army’s longest of the year, as the team will travel nearly 450 miles for the matchup. Live stats, as well as Twitter updates will be available via VMIKeydets.com.

ABOUT THE BLACK KNIGHTS
Coming off a year where the Black Knights advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament that featured a win over two-time defending champion Syracuse in round one, Army opened up the season with an 8-5 setback at UMass. Against UMass, Army was outshot 50-22, and trailed the entire game as the Minuteman took a 2-0 lead at the beginning of the game. Army features three players that were drafted in the recent MLL Draft in Patriot League Preseason Player of the Year, attackman Jeremy Boltus, LSM Bill Henderson,  and goalie Tom Palesky. The three, along with sophomore attacker Garrett Thul, all earned Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-America honors. Additionally, Army was picked to finish first in the Patriot League Presason Poll, earning 12 of the 14 first-place votes.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. ARMY
Army leads the all-time series by a 2-0 margin, as the two sides have played eachother the last two years with each game being held in Michie Stadium. After falling 17-3 to the Black Knights in 2009, VMI hung tough in the 2010 edition of the contest, but were defeated by an 11-9 margin, The Keydets trailed 4-2 at halftime, but couldn’t overcome the deficit as the Keydets matched the Black Knights 7-7 in the second half. Keith Long and Bobby Davis had two goals apiece, while Kelly McMinn made nine saves and allowed 10 of the 11 goals. VMI held a substantial advantage in the faceoff X, winning 19-of-23.

VMI EARNS FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON, 15-9 OVER MERCER
Juniors Colin Bosse and Andrew Nieminski scored three goals apiece while junior Keith Long had four helpers as the Keydets picked up their first win of the season in the first home game in Mercer lacrosse history 15-9 Ten different players scored for the Keydets while VMI won the faceoff battle 21-6 and the held a 55-36 groundball advantage in VMI head coach Brian Anken’s first win as the Keydet head coach.

LONG ADDS NAME TO RECORD BOOKS
Long put his name in the VMI record books with his four assists against Mercer, as he now ranks tied for third in program history in single game assists. The four assists are the most since Jacob Weimer accomplished the feat against Presbyterian on March 2, 2010. Kevin Hill ‘08 and Brett Leonard ‘10 as the other two Keydets to have four assists in a game, while Andrew Lawrence holds the school record as he had seven against Radford in 1991.

NIEMINSKI’S OUTBURST EQUALS CAREER OUTPUT
Junior midfielder Andrew Nieminski had the best offensive game of his career against Mercer, scoring a trio of goals to equal his career total in his previous two seasons on post in the 15-9 win over Mercer. In previous seasons, Nieminski scored one goal as a freshman, and two a year ago in his junior season.

KEYDETS BATTLE, BUT FALL AT NAVY, 14-8
VMI led 2-1 in the opening minutes of the 2011 season against Navy, but were outscored 9-3 over the final two-plus quarters, falling 14-8 in the opening game of the Brian Anken era in Annapolis on Feb. 12. Senior Bobby Davis led the team with two goals and an assist on the day, while junior Stephen Robarge chipped in a pair of goals as well, both coming on fast breaks on Navy faceoff violations.

McMINN EARNS NOD IN GOAL, SHINES VS. NAVY
After winning an intense three-man battle for the starting goalie position, junior goalie Kelly McMinn shined versus Navy, stopping nine midshipmen shots as well as scooping up a team-high eight groundballs in the contest, doubling his previous career-high of four that he achieved on four occasions in the 2010 season against Navy, Presbyterian, Virginia, and Wagner. McMinn came up huge early on, making six of the nine stops in the first two quarters of action as VMI remained within striking-distance heading into the intermission with the score 10-6. The Mission Viejo, California native went on to make three stops in the second half to arrive at his nine save total.

ROBARGE NAMED PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN BY FACEOFF MAGAZINE
Faceoff specialist Stephen Robarge has been tabbed a 2011 Face-Off Yearbook Preseason All-American honorable mention selection as a face-off specialist, the magazine announced in its December 2 publication.

A product of Hayfield High School in Lorton, Va., the recently named team captain led Division I in face-off percentage for a large portion of the season 2010 season, before ending the season fourth with a 61.5 percent mark. Against Army and Navy, he was a combined 31-of-40 in the face-off X, and was 18-of-22 against Vermont on March 13 and 16-of-18 against Saint Joseph’s on April 10.

Additionally, he ranked second in the NCAA in groundballs per game with 8.27. He earned double-digit groundballs in games against Jacksonville, Detroit, Siena and Wagner to go along with his season-high of 11 against Vermont on March 13.

He was the lone Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference player on the list, and one of four players named in the honorable mention face-off specialist category. Robarge shared the company with Loyola’s John Schiavone, Zach Pall of Hofstra and Bobby Datillo of Hobart.

ROBARGE ON THE HUNT FOR GROUND BALL RECORD
Junior Stephen Robarge entered his junior season with 156 ground balls in his career, as he had 32 his freshman season and a school record 124 as a sophomore. The junior from Lorton, Va. is now 77 groundballs away from the school record of 247, held by Derek Bogdon ‘01.

VMI TABBED SEVENTH IN PRESEASON MAAC POLL
The Siena College Saints were selected as the team to beat in the MAAC Men’s Lacrosse League in 2011, according to the league’s seven head coaches, while the Keydets were picked to finish seventh.

Canisius’ Adam Jones was chosen as the 2011 MAAC Preseason Player of the Year. Jones, a native of Owen Sound, Ontario, is a three-time All-MAAC First Team selection. Last season, he led all MAAC midfielders with 3.08 points per game and 1.92 goals per game, and registered at least one point in all 13 games. Jones was also a member of the MAAC All-Academic Team in 2010.

Marist College finished second in the poll with 38 points. Canisius was third with 34 points. League newcomers Jacksonville University finished fourth with 30 points, followed by Manhattan College (22), University of Detroit Mercy (21), and VMI (8).

The preseason All-MAAC team consists of Marist’s Connor Rice and Corey Zindel and Siena’s Neufeld at attack. The midfielders are Jones, Jacksonville’s Cameron Mann, and Siena’s Rogener. Jacksonville’s Cory Lovrich and Jake Ziegler and Siena’s Seale were selected as the defensemen. Siena’s Morr was chosen as the goalie. 

KEYDETS COMPILE 2-1 PRESEASON RECORD, WIN VMI SPRING SHOOTOUT
The Keydets compiled a 2-1 record during preseason competition, falling to Mars Hill College 11-10 on Jan. 29. The defeat was followed up by VMI taking the team title on Feb. 5 in the VMI Shootout, as the Keydets defeated Ferrum College 15-5 in the first game of the day, followed by an 8-7 victory over Belmont-Abbey in the afternoon contest.

VMI FALLS TO W&L IN LEE-JACKSON CLASSIC, WHITEHEAD EARNS WORRELL-FALLON TROPHY
Washington & Lee jumped out to an early 3-0 lead thanks to Meehan, who scored three of his four goals in the first quarter. VMI got on the board early in the second frame, as Whitehead linked up with Keith Long to bring the score to 3-1 in favor of W&L. However, that was the closest the Keydets would get to taking the lead, as the Generals rattled off seven unanswered goals, three of which were man-up scores to carry a 10-1 lead minutes into the third quarter.

After VMI endured a nearly 16-minute run without scoring, Whitehead earned his second goal of the day with 8:47 left in the third to bring the score to 10-2 in favor of the Generals.

VMI earned a pair of goals with two minutes remaining, as junior attacker Colin Bosse scored twice, the latter coming off of a Bobby Davis assist, but all told, W&L outscored the Keydets 6-3 over the final 23 minutes-plus, accounting for the final margin of 16-5.

The Keydets did themselves in with 17 penalties on the afternoon, resulting in six W&L man-up goals. Additionally, the Generals outshot the Keydets by a 46-20 margin, and were 22-of-27 on clear attempts. Sophomore Jack Switala also had four goals and an assist for the Generals.

A pair of freshman saw time in the cage for VMI, as Pat Johnston got the start, and was later relieved by classmate Mark Hargrove in the third quarter. The pair combined to make 13 saves. The Keydets held a 43-35 ground ball advantage, and were also 17-of-26 on face offs, as juniors Chris Rossie was 10-of-15 and Stephen Robarge was 7-of-11.

PATTERSON, LONG, ROBARGE NAMED TEAM CAPTAINS
The Keydet lacrosse program announced at the beginning of the season this seasons team captain selection via a team vote, with senior Lowell Patterson, and juniors Keith Long and Stephen Robarge earning the team honor. Patterson, returns to the program after a year hiatus after battling back injuries, while Long will look to anchor the first-line attack unit.


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