April 27, 2014

Dominican Wins Back-to-Back WILA Titles

from press release

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. — The Dominican University of California men's lacrosse team needed two goals to capture a second straight Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association title. After seeing a six-goal lead dwindle to to 11-10 with 15 seconds to go, Dominican's Kevin Powers scored with five seconds on the clock to push the lead back to two and secure a 12-10 Penguins victory over Colorado Mesa Univesrity on Sunday on Kennelly Field.

"It was definitely a new experience needing to win by two," said Dominican Head Coach Ned Webster. "We called a timeout before the face-off, drew up a pretty simple concept, asked guys to make plays, and Kevin came through yet again. It was awesome."

Dominican, who entered leading all of NCAA Division II with 15.36 goals per game, netted the first two goals of the game to take a 2-0 lead in the first quarter but the Mavericks rallied back to tie the game at 4-4 by intermission.

CMU took its first lead of the game, 5-4, at the 10-minute mark of the third quarter on a Tom Hurley goal but Cody Bernstein answered a minute later. That kicked off a seven-goal run that put the Penguins up 11-5 by the end of the third quarter. The second goal of that run, which put the Penguins up for good, may have been the ultimate difference maker. CMU's Brady George scooped a ground ball but Dalton Copeland sprinted across the width of the field and stole the pass with a one-handed snag. He then sprinted into the box and wove through the Mavericks defenders to find the back of the net. That made the score 6-5 with 5:38 to go. Dylan Acevedo, who won a season-high 17 face-offs, won the game's next four face-offs to help Dominican build a 10-5 lead. Cody Bernstein added one of his two goals to make it 11-5 to end the third quarter.

The lead looked in danger, much in the same fashion how CMU rallied back in the fourth quarter to take the teams' first meeting 9-8, and Dominican went scoreless for over 15 minutes. Over the same period, CMU cut the lead to 11-10 with 14 seconds to go. With time of the essence, Acevedo came up huge yet again and Jack Beall picked up the ground ball. The Penguins go the ball to Jake Bernstein, who found Kevin Powers for his fifth goal of the game to win the game.

Powers' five goals matched a season-high for the defending WILA Offensive Player of the Week. He led the Penguins with 36 goals and 51 points. He also had 15 assists.

Acevedo, who scored off a face-off, finishes the regular season with a a .578 face-off percentage, having won 122 of his battles at midfield. Grant Clifford scored a pair of goals and is second on the team with 23.

The No. 5 regionally-ranked Penguins finish with a 9-3 (.750) overall mark and 5-1 WILA record. The nine wins are the most in a season in program history and the .750 winning percentage is also the best in program history. CMU fell to 7-3 and 3-1 in WILA play. Even if CMU wins out, with the two teams having split contests, Dominican holds the tiebreaker by outscoring CMU head-to-head. That sent seniors Brock Beall, Blake Crossman, Copeland, and Sean Donohue on a winning note as they played their final collegiate game at home.

"I'm just so happy for our seniors to end their careers in such an amazing way versus a very talented team," said Webster "Like the rest of our alumni, they are a huge reason why our program has improved so much over the years."

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