April 23, 2014

Crazy Eights: Limestone Routs Belmont Abbey

from press release

GAFFNEY, S.C. – Facing a familiar postseason foe, No. 3 Limestone (14-1, 4-0 CC) produced a similar result to past meetings as they delivered an 18-4 victory over Belmont Abbey (6-10, 1-3 CC) in a Conference Carolinas Tournament Semifinal and NCAA Division II men's lacrosse game on Wednesday, April 23.

The game marked the eighth straight year the Saints will appear in the league championship game and was also the eighth consecutive time the teams had met in the tournament.

Freshman faceoff specialist Kevin Reisman (West Babylon, N.Y.), the league's Freshman of the Year, showed why as he continually fueled the Limestone offense by winning 17-of-21 faceoffs and picking up 16 groundballs.

Benefitting from that effort were senior attack Todd Nakasuji (Ajax, Ontario, Canada), who finished with three goals and an assist, and both sophomore attack Vinny Ricci (Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada) and junior midfielder Calyl Robinson (Annapolis, Md.). Both of the latter delivered hat tricks.

League Offensive Player of the Year, sophomore midfielder Mike Messenger (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada), and senior midfielder Jamar Peete (Baltimore, Md.) each had a goal and two assists and sophomore attack Kyle Rhatigan (Holbrook, N.Y.) and senior midfielder Joshua Williams (Davidsonville, Md.) each had a pair of scores.

Defensively, senior defenseman Anthony Starnino (Rochester, N.Y.), this year's Defender of the Year, anchored the "D" with three caused turnovers and five groundballs in front of a tremendous performance by sophomore goal keeper Patrick Sheridan (Fairport, N.Y.). The latter played 45 minutes between the pipes, allowing just three goals and making seven saves to move to 14-1 on the year.

A four goal first quarter was just the beginning as Limestone took their 4-1 lead and blew it out to a 12-2 halftime advantage with an 8-1 second quarter margin. During that first half Reisman won 13-of-15 faceoffs and collected 12 groundballs while Nakasuji delivered four points on three goals along with an assist.

The Crusaders would stem the tide for a while in the third quarter, even scoring the first goal to cut it to a nine goal margin, before the Saints rifled in three straight goals in a two minute span beginning with 4:05 left in the period. They would take that 15-3 lead into the fourth and quickly build on it with back-to-back scores before closing out the 14 goal victory.

Belmont Abbey, while not having a great deal of offense, did keep it balanced as four different players had one goal each. Ryan Callahan, Scotty Steele, Joey McGinley and Riley Quinlan did the honors with the scoring with Steele adding three caused turnovers. Jon Wolcott and Devin Cruz also had three caused turnovers apiece but the latter went 4-of-16 at the center "X". Brett Lawless played all 60 minutes in goal, surrendering all 18 goals and making eight saves to fall to 6-9 on the year.

Limestone now advances to the 2014 Conference Carolinas Tournament Championship Game on their home field. They will face the winner of No. 10 Pfeiffer at Mount Olive, scheduled to be played later this evening, on Sunday, April 27. That game is slated for 1 p.m. at Saints Field.

Belmont Abbey and Limestone have met in every Conference Carolinas Tournament dating to the first one in 2007 ... the Saints have won the last five tournament titles beginning with the 2009 season and six overall.

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