LEXINGTON, Va. - Trailing for most of the game, the VMI lacrosse team used a fourth-quarter rally to earn a 9-8 come-from-behind win over visiting New Jersey Institute of Technology Saturday afternoon in its home opener at Drill Field No. 2.
The Keydets (1-1) trailed by a 6-5 tally after three quarters after getting behind by a 6-3 margin midway through the second quarter. VMI gradually kept pace and tied the score at 6-6 early in the fourth quarter when senior Nick Dodd attacked the net unassisted and knotted the game.
VMI earned its first lead of the game at 7-6 after freshman John Daniel shot an unassisted goal at the 13:57 mark and extended the advantage to 8-6 following a Chris Spada goal assisted by Dale Mattice with 9:08 left.
NJIT's Aaron Forster kept the Highlanders in contention by notching a goal at the 6:51 mark to make it 8-7 before senior Brad Nardella scored his fourth goal of the season and second of the game in what proved to be the game-winning goal with 4:22 left in regulation.
Forster scored again for the Highlanders (0-3) with 47 seconds on the clock to trim the lead to one point for the Keydets but VMI was able to withstand a final NJIT offensive flurry in the last moments to secure the 9-8 win.
Spada paced the Keydets by tying a career high with three goals in a single game while Nardella's two goals gives him four for the year as he looks to top his season-high seven goals from his freshman season in 2014. Sophomore faceoff specialist Tristan Capes-Davis won 16 of 21 faceoffs, just two off his career high set last year against Hampton.
The Highlanders were led by Forster's four goals while Ryan Callaghan registered two. Ryan Kaden and Ryan Darrow also logged scores for NJIT in the loss.
With the win, VMI goalie Joe Riccadonna improves to 1-1 for the year as the junior tallied seven saves to preserve the victory. NJIT's Nick Marzullo was given the loss despite 15 saves throughout the match.
The Keydets quickly return to action Tuesday with a home game against Delaware slated for 3 p.m. at Drill Field No. 2.