February 8, 2014

Messenger, Limestone Dispatch Lenoir-Rhyne

from press release

GAFFNEY, S.C. – Sophomore Mike Messenger (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada) had a stellar debut as his five points helped No. 5 Limestone (1-0, 0-0 CC) double up visiting Lenoir-Rhyne (0-1, 0-0 SAC) 18-9 in a Division II men's lacrosse game on Saturday, February 8 at the Upper Practice Field.

Messenger delivered the scoring punch with his four goals and an assist while adding a game-high tying five groundballs to pace the Saints. He was joined by senior attack Todd Nakasuji (Ajax, Ontario, Canada), who dished out a game-high three assists along with two scores of his own, and by sophomore attack Vinny Ricci (Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada) with three scores.

Freshman midfielder Colton Watkinson (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada) had an impressive debut with a pair of scores and game-high tying five groundballs while sophomore Kyle Rhatigan (Holbrook, N.Y.) finished with a goal and a pair of assists.

Anchoring the defense was senior long stick midfielder Anthony Starnino (Rochester, N.Y.) with four groundballs and two caused turnovers to go with his goal and assist. Sophomore goalkeeper Patrick Sheridan (Fairport, N.Y.) was solid as the Saints starting netminder as he went 54:56, allowed eight goals and notched 12 saves to pick up the win. He also added five groundballs on the day.

Messenger got the Saints on the board early as he converted a man-up goal just 1:25 into the game before LRU tied it on a Jon Hanlon goal at the 9:55 mark. The teams would trade goals again to get to 2-2 with 4:42 on the clock but that wouldn't last long as Limestone scored the next three to take a 5-2 advantage eight minutes into the second quarter. The Bears would keep it close as they narrowed the gap to 6-4 before reaching the half with the Saints holding a 7-5 advantage.

Out of the break, Limestone scored three of the first four goals, including a man-up register by Vinny Ricci, to stretch the lead to 10-6 with 7:27 remaining in the third period. LRU would get back to within three at 11-8 at the beginning of the fourth but that would be it as the Saints flexed their muscle and showed why they have been to a record 14 straight NCAA Division II Tournaments.

Over the final 14:38, Limestone turned that three goal margin into nine as they ripped off six straight scores, by six different players, to extend to an insurmountable 17-8 advantage. Lenoir-Rhyne's Tyler Kotch would pick up a meaningless goal at the 3:51 mark that was then matched by senior midfielder Joey Rotolone (Edgewater, Md.) to reach the final margin of 18-9.

Kotch and Jay Goldsmith led the way for the Bears as they each had three goals while Sam Ashton nothed a pair of assists and two groundballs. Keeper Alex Squires played 35:34 and allowed eight goals while making seven saves to take the loss. Steven McGhee relieved him in the second half and surrendered 10 goals and made four saves in 24:26 of action.

Limestone returns to action on Tuesday, February 11 when they travel to Charlotte, N.C. to take on former Conference Carolinas rival Queens. Game time is set for 4 p.m.

The victory kicks off the Saints 25th season in program history ... Messenger made his debut with Limestone after playing for Division I High Point in 2013.

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