PHILADELPHIA -- It was a two-goal game early in the fourth quarter, but the Virginia Military Institute lacrosse team fell victim to a five-goal surge over the final nine minutes of its game against the Saint Joseph’s University Hawks, falling 10-3 Saturday afternoon at Finnesey Field.
It was a defensive battle in the first three quarters of the game, with each team scoring once in the third quarter. But the Hawks broke the game open in the fourth quarter after VMI’s Russell East pulled the Keydets back within one on an extra man goal.
“We didn’t get off to the start we wanted to and gave up some goals early,” said VMI head coach Brian Anken. “I was happy with how we bounced back and settled in defensively. They threw some different pressures on their clears that we struggled with early. But midway through the first, all of the second and all of the third I take our hats off to what we did defensively. Unfortunately, we couldn’t continue it as long as we hoped.”
VMI got its goals from three different players, including East’s extra man effort. Sophomores Mike DeBlasio and Eric Groleau accounted for VMI’s other two goals while junior Bernie Mowbray had the only assist on the day.
The Hawks got a pair of goals from Josh Cavanaugh, while eight other Saint Joseph’s players scored.. Cavanaugh finished with two assists as well, turning in four points on his afternoon. Michael Doughtery and Rob Watts each scored once and had one assist.
Senior goalkeeper Matt Lindemann made eight saves in the game, all coming in the first three quarters. Across from Lindemann, Dustin Keen made six saves while taking the win. It marked the first time this season Lindemann did not have double-digit saves.
For the first time in 2013, the Keydets won the groundball battle, grabbing 22 while the Hawks managed 21. It was another scrappy day for faceoff specialist Gaston Ledford, who won nine of the game’s 16 draws. VMI had one of its best clearing days of the season, gaining the zone 14 of 17 times.
The Keydets had plenty of man up chances as the Hawks took six penalties. However, VMI managed to cash in on just one of those opportunities, coming on East’s tally. The Keydets took just one penalty on the afternoon, as Dan Bull was penalized for a push in the final minute of the game. The short-handed unit held Saint Joseph’s (2-1) off the board during the 30 second penalty.
Saint Joseph’s took 31 shots throughout the game, the fewest VMI has allowed all season. In the fourth quarter, the Hawks took seven shots, scoring on five of those chances. The Keydets managed 24 shots in the game, including 12 in the final stanza. Unfortunately for the Keydets, many of those chances drifted just wide, or stuck the goal posts.
Playing through a light mist the entire game, both teams were sloppy with the ball, combining for 32 turnovers in the game. The Keydets lost possession 18 times while the Hawks turned it over 14 times. VMI forced 10 of those 14 turnovers however, including four from defenseman Tyler Prasnicki. Longstick midfielder Ty Trobridge accounted for another three caused turnovers.
For the first time this season, the Hawks scored in the first half of a game, scoring four unanswered goals in the first quarter. The Keydets were held scoreless through the first quarter until the final 30 seconds when Groleau finished his pass from Mowbray.
Defense, combined with nine total turnovers in the second quarter, kept both teams off of the score board, giving the Hawks a 4-1 advantage going into halftime.
Saint Joseph’s struck first in the fresh half as Bryan Garrahan put the Hawks up 5-1 with 11:40 on the clock. It would be another 10 minutes before the game’s next goal came along as DeBlasio notched his mark with 1:31 left in the third.
Heading into the fourth quarter trailing 5-2, East made the most of an extra man situation, executing a spin move and ripping a shot that bounced off the post and into, pulling VMI back within two goals.
But over a seven-minute span, the Hawks found the back of the net five times as five different players scored goals, sealing VMI’s fate.
After three games in the last week, the Keydets return to action next Saturday when VMI travels to Bethlehem, Pa. to take on the Mountain Hawks of Lehigh University, currently ranked No. 12 in last week’s USILA polls. Game time is set for 2:30 p.m. at Ulrich Sports Complex.