February 11, 2012

Bellarmine Comeback Falls Short Against Robert Morris

from press release

LOUISIVILLE, Ky. — A valiant comeback effort by the Bellarmine University lacrosse team fell just short as the visiting Robert Morris Colonials held on for the 9-8 victory in the season opener for both teams in a non-conference game Saturday afternoon in a cold Owsley B. Frazier Stadium on Bellarmine's campus.

Despite a wind chill of just 10 degrees at the time of the opening face-off, Robert Morris had a hot start getting off to 3-0 lead just 6:15 into the contest as Kyle Buchanan, Jake Hayes, and Connor Martin all registered tallies for the Colonials.

The visitors went into halftime with a 5-2 advantage and extended the lead to 8-3 with 6:33 to go in the third quarter.

The Knights got a much-needed lift with Ryan Scinta rifled a shot past the Colonial keeper with just five seconds remaining in the third period.

When Michael Ward scored for the Knights just 56 seconds into the fourth quarter, Bellarmine was down just 8-5 and playing with confidence. Neither team scored over the next 8:50 until Hayes registered his third goal of the game with 5:14 remaining to put RMU ahead 9-5.

The Knights picked up the intensity and stormed back with three straight goals to pull within 9-8 with 1:12 remaining. Bellarmine had one last gasp of hope. After getting a turnover, the Knights cleared it successfully and called time out with just two seconds remaining on the clock. Bellarmine got off a final desperation shot, but it was blocked well before it had a chance to make it to the goal.

The loss put a damper on the debut of new Bellarmine Lacrosse Coach Kevin Burns, but the first year skipper was optimistic after the game.

"Like I told the team in the locker room, we can be disappointed and we can be mad, but we can't be discouraged," Burns said. "We were really sloppy at the beginning of the game, but one we cleaned it up, I thought we showed what kind of team we could be," he said. "I'm really proud of the guys. Our seniors showed a lot of leadership and even when we were down five, we kept clawing back."

The Colonials, who were the national leader in scoring offense in each of the last two years, got big efforts from Kiel Matisz (3 goals, 2 assists) and Hayes (3 goals, 1 assist). Bellarmine's offense was led by Karsen Leung with three goals and an assist. Other major contributors were Colton Clark with three assists and Ward who registered three goals.

Goalie play was solid on both sides with Charles Ruppert picking up the win for Robert Morris while collecting 11 saves. Bellarmine's Dillon Ward picked up 10 saves but was saddled with the loss.

Bellarmine (0-1) is back in action next Saturday at Mercer. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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