LEXINGTON, Va. - Led by four goals from John Daniel and six assists from Ryan Perouty, the VMI lacrosse team defeated the visiting NJIT Highlanders by a 15-8 score on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Drill Field No. 2.
With a 2-0 start to the season, the Keydets matched their best start in program history as they last opened 2-0 from the 2000 season, the same year VMI last won its season opener. This is the first time VMI has opened a season with two wins over Division I opponents.
The six helpers from Perouty tied for second all-time in program history for assists in a single game as he matched the six Robert Trimble earned against Marist during the 2005 season. The four goals from Daniel tied for the second most for a game in his VMI career while freshman Michael Santos earned a season-high three goals to help VMI to the win.
"I’m so proud of these guys, especially our upperclassmen," said VMI head coach Jon Birsner. "These seniors and juniors came into this entire year on a mission to turn this program around. There’s a lot of lacrosse left this year but this start was a big goal of ours. Going 2-0 to start for the first time in program history was a great afternoon to be a part of.
"I really liked our game plan and pace on offense but their goalie played incredible today. Our guys never got frustrated and just kept attacking. Perouty, Daniel and then Santos coming in with his first start were all great at helping us finish down the stretch. We knew defensively that this game would be about discipline and fundamentals. NJIT has a bunch of guys that go very hard to the goal and I’m proud of our defense for being disciplined and taking pride in their one-on-one matchups. Coach Doyle prepared them well and Walsh led a group that communicated great and made a ton of stops today, especially during long possessions. They did it for each other. Love this brotherhood!"
The Keydets were dominant on offense and took 68 shots at the NJIT net, including 27 in the second quarter. Daniel, Perouty and Santos combined for 40 shots throughout the game. Highlander goalie Alexzander Hunt kept busy and earned 20 saves during the course of the match, including nine in the second period.
Perouty finished the game with two goals himself while senior midfielder John O'Donnell also scored a pair. Jon Fant, Kyle Walsh, Trejan Cannon and Donald Proper recorded the other goals for VMI in the historic win. VMI goalie Benjamin Stump registered 12 saves in his second career start to help preserve the win.
VMI will play its third consecutive home game next Saturday when Mount St. Mary's visits Lexington for a 3:30 p.m. start at Drill Field No. 2.