LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Despite holding a 6-5 lead at the half, the VMI lacrosse team allowed a second-half surge by host Bellarmine as the Keydets fell by a 13-8 score to the Knights Saturday afternoon at O.B. Frazier Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky.
Two quick goals in the opening period by Wesley Sanders and Hunter Duford and two strikes by Nick Dodd and Dale Mattice before the half gave VMI (1-6, 0-3) momentum going into the break, but Bellarmine (2-6, 1-1) responded with six goals in the third period to VMI's two that proved insurmountable with one quarter left to play.
VMI freshman Hunter Duford registered his first career hat trick as a Keydet by scoring all three goals in the first quarter to help VMI to a 4-3 advantage. Sanders and Mattice both scored twice during the game with Dodd tallying the other score. Freshman John Daniel was credited with two assists during the game with senior Chris Spada contributing another.
The Keydets outshot the Knights by a 33-32 ratio, taking 23 shots to the Knights' 13 in the first half but were outpaced by a 19-10 margin in the second half.
Defensively, sophomore Kyle Walsh, ranked among the national leaders in caused turnovers, forced two more Saturday in addition to snagging four groundballs. The NCAA leader in saves, goalie Joe Riccadonna, saved seven in a complete game effort. Freshman faceoff specialist AJ Krstulovic won 10 of 20 faceoffs as he picked up a team-high five groundballs throughout the game.
Bellarmine was led by three goals from attacker Tucker Ciessau, who also logged two assists for a game-high five points to go with nine shot attempts. Morgan Macko, Jack Perkins and Ian Miller scored two goals apiece for the Knights.
VMI has a quick turnaround as the Keydets host non-league opponent Mount St. Mary's Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. at Drill Field No. 2.