May 6, 2009

St. Lawrence Ends Naz's Postseason Ride

from press releases

CANTON, N.Y. - The No. 16 St. Lawrence University men's lacrosse team won the program's first ever NCAA Tournament game at North Country Field on Wednesday night, as the Saints used a nine-goal run en route to a 14-7 win over No. 19 Nazareth.  The First Round victory sends St. Lawrence to Middlebury on Saturday where they will face the No. 7 Panthers (13-2).

The Scarlet and Brown moved to 13-3 on the year having won their fourth straight game behind the solid play of senior goaltender Thomas Hollingsworth.  Nazareth's season comes to an end at 11-7 after earning a bid to the tournament with a fantastic run to the 2009 Empire 8 Tournament title.

"Nazareth and Coach Randall really have a lot to be proud of, as they played hard and had a great run to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament," said St. Lawrence head coach Mike Mahoney.  "I thought we worked hard and got out to a nice lead.  What I was more impressed with was that when Nazareth made its run, we responded in a very positive way."

St. Lawrence senior John Allen opened the game's scoring at 2:01 with a goal on Golden Flyer netminder Todd Dermody.  However, Nazareth came back with two goals to take a 2-1 cushion, as Mark DeCirce and Joe Jacob-Ferderbar beat Hollingsworth at 3:42 and 9:28, respectively.

After allowing Nazareth's second goal, the Saints used a strong defensive effort keyed by Hollingsworth, junior Trevor Scoon and senior captain Carl Festa to shift the momentum into their corner.  With their defense shutting out Nazareth for 31:06 and senior P.J. Santora controlling the face-off game, St. Lawrence rattled off nine straight goals to take a 10-2 lead in the third quarter.

Senior Collin Moon, who was named the MVP of the 2009 Liberty League Tournament, tied the score to cap the first quarter offense at 13:10.  Classmate Kyle Benton gave the Saints their lead back with the opening goal of the second quarter, while Moon and junior Scott Smith followed to send the home team to the locker room at half time with a 5-2 advantage.

Hollingsworth was clutch for the Saints in the first half, as he finished with nine saves in the first 30:00 minutes of action.  The scoreless second quarter was the first of the season for Nazareth, who had tallied a goal in every quarter of each game leading in to Wednesday.

"Defensively, we're asking our guys to play solid position defense and they really did that against a strong offensive attack today with two 50 point scorers," added Coach Mahoney.  "Thomas (Hollingsworth) also was key, as he bailed us out when they had good chances down low.

The Saints continued their scoring momentum in the third quarter, as Moon wasted only 39 seconds before putting his team up 6-2.  Senior captain Alex Slauson, the 2009 Liberty League Player of the Year, then scored back-to-back goals to force Nazareth to call a timeout and try to slow down the home team.  Unfortunately for the Golden Flyers, first-year student Caldwell Rohrbach and Slauson went right back to work, scoring goals only 32 seconds apart for a 10-2 lead with 5:18 left to play in the third quarter.

Nazareth began to make a late push in the final minutes of the third quarter, as they picked up three goals in a span of 2:57 to carve their way back into the contest.  Scott Castle scored an unassisted goal at 10:34, while C.J. Estes and Joe Jacobs-Ferderbar followed to pull the Golden Flyers back to within five at 10-5 at the end of the third quarter.

A four-goal run by the Saints would put the game out of reach to start the final stanza, led by the opening goal of the fourth by Rohrbach only seven seconds into the frame off of a face-off win by Santora.  Moon, Smith and senior Peter Carroll would then follow with goals to build the St. Lawrence lead to 14-5 and put the Saints well on their way to Middlebury, VT.  Jacobs-Ferderbar and Kyle Brown scored goals for the visitors in the final minute of play to bring the game to its final of 14-7.

"This is a tough, young Nazareth team that will be in the mix for years to come," said Mahoney.  "As for Saturday, Middlebury has an explosive offense and can really attack you with their athleticism.  We've got our work cut out for us, but we're excited to have the chance to play."

The game was very close statistically, as St. Lawrence finished with a narrow 36-35 advantage in shots and a 32-23 edge in ground balls.  Despite making 19 turnovers, the Saints were able to use the impressive face-off work by Santora to control the midfield, as the Cos Cob, CT native won 16-of-24 draws.

Hollingsworth finished with 13 saves in the game to improve to 12-3 on the year, while Dermody stopped eight St. Lawrence bids in the loss for Nazareth.

A game time for Saturday's NCAA Tournament Second Round game at Middlebury will be announced on Monday afternoon.

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