LEXINGTON, Va. - Looking to finish the season strong, the VMI lacrosse team fell by a narrow 11-8 margin to the visiting Bears of Mercer University Saturday afternoon at Drill Field No. 2.
The Keydets (2-12, 0-7) held the Bears (5-8, 2-5) scoreless in the fourth quarter while scoring two of their own, but a 7-3 deficit at the half and 11-6 disadvantage at the end of the third proved too much to overcome as Mercer escaped with the win.
The game marked the final time seniors Nick Dodd, Michael Hutwelker, Brad Nardella, Dale Mattice and Chris Spada suited up for the Keydets on Drill Field No. 2 as all were recognized before the game.
VMI outshot the Bears by a 53-42 ratio and VMI goalie Joe Riccadonna recorded 13 saves to Mercer's 10, but an injury-riddled Keydet roster struggled to take advantage of man-up opportunities as the Bears committed six penalties for 6:30 of penalty time. While both teams went 20-22 on clearing attempts, the Bears won the faceoff battle, 14-9, and picked up 43 groundballs to VMI's 27.
Mattice went out in fashion with two goals on the day with freshman Jonathan Durham and sophomore John O'Donnell each contributing two. Nardella and freshman Hunter Duford scored the other goals for the Keydets. O'Donnell registered his first assist of the season to lead the team with three total points in the loss.
The Bears were paced by Chris Rahill's three goals while Scott Baird added another two. Six others scored individual goals in the outing. Goalie Bradley Hodoval earned his fifth win of the season by collecting 10 saves.