March 1, 2014

Defense Anchors Le Moyne Win over Limestone

by Will Fairfax | | Twitter

The defending national champions and number one team in the land Le Moyne used a stifling defensive effort to earn a 12-8 win over Limestone on Saturday afternoon at Georgetown Prep (Md.), holding the fifth-ranked Saints scoreless over the final 28.21 of the game.

The game was a rematch of the 2012 NCAA semifinals, a game that saw the Saints end the Dolphins undefeated season.

"This has developed into just a fantastic rivalry," said Le Moyne head coach Dan Sheehan. "It's one of those games that both coaches and teams love to play. Being a non-region game there is not the weight of the world on your shoulders and you can come out and play.

The first quarter was a back and forth affair with Le Moyne getting on the board first when Junior Joe Corapi passed to Senior Chris Button who scored to give the Dolphins an early 1-0 lead just 40 seconds into the game.

Limestone Sophomore attackman Kyle Rhatigan tied the game with 11:20 remaining in the first quarter. Le Moyne Senior midfielder Kam Bumpus responded four seconds later when he won the faceoff and ran down the field and cranked a shot into the top left corner of the goal to regain their one point advantage.

Limestone sophomore midfielder Mike Messenger fired a shot from just under 20 yards away that just went under the crossbar to tie the game with 9:56 left in the first quarter. Le Moyne scored two straight goals by Senior Mike DeBottis (7:17) and Freshman Brian Rogers (5:27) to give the Dolphins a 4-2 lead.

Messenger scored two straight goals (4:37 and 1:36) to tie the game at 4-4. Le Moyne closed out the first quarter with two goals in 12 seconds including one with one second remaining to give them a 6-4 lead.

Limestone opened the second quarter strong with three straight goals by Sophomore Vinny Ricci (12:54), Freshman Anthony Quiles (9:02) and Senior Joshua Williams (8:05) to give them a 7-6 lead.

Then the problems started for Limestone. Limestone was called for a slashing penalty, which resulted in a Le Moyne's Corapi scoring with 4:36 left in the half on the extra man opportunity. Then with 3:09 left in the half the Saints committed three penalties, including a two-minute illegal body check by Messenger. The Dolphins took advantage of the 6 on 4 opportunity on offense by scoring a goal by Button to seize a 8-7 lead going into halftime.

Le Moyne continue their momentum going into the third quarter scoring three of the four goals scored in the quarter to take a 11-8 lead.

The Limestone defense started to show fatigue early in the fourth quarter when they again committed three penalties on one play with 13:09 remaining in the game. Sophomore Mike Jenkins stole the ball from a Limestone player in the Saints territory and passed to Corapi who scored the last goal of the game with 11:26 remaining in the game. The goal helped seal a 12-8 win for Le Moyne.

The Dolphins finished the second half strong holding the Saints scoreless over the last 28:21.

Limestone head coach J.B. Clarke said that penalties were a big difference in the game.

"A major issue for us is that we fouled too much," said Clarke. "We had eight penalties that really hurt us and I just think Le Moyne did a better job of doing what they do. It's kind of a coaching term, but they don't try to trick you much. They do what they do, they do it really well, they played very hard. We had eight penalties and they only had three, so it's tough to win a lacrosse game when you have eight fouls."

Le Moyne was 3-5 on extra man opportunities, but Sheehan said that his defense shutting Limestone out in extra man opportunities was a bigger deal (0-3).

"I think the bigger story is our man down group," said Sheehan. "Our man down group was 100% today. That was huge for us we killed three penalties. And that is sometimes more of a momentum swing than scoring on a man up."

Limestone won more ground balls than Le Moyne (34-32) and won more faceoffs (14-23), but ultimately couldn't overcome their mistakes and the eight penalties that they made.

One of the big draws of having the neutral site game at Georgetown Prep was recruiting, as Maryland is a huge hotbed for Lacrosse. In fact eight players on the Limestone roster are from Maryland including five from Anne Arundel County.

Clarke noted that playing a game in Maryland is a great recruiting tool as well as a great way to get experience against teams north of them.

"It's expensive to do, but we think it's worth it," said Clarke.

Limestone head back to Maryland next Sunday when they face off against Merrimack. The defending national champions who haven't lost a game in 329 days face off against Pace University at home next Saturday.

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