March 23, 2011

Balanced Offense Leads No. 9 RPI Past Vassar

from press release

– Eight different players notched goals as the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men's lacrosse team defeated Vassar College, 10-2, in the Liberty League opener for both squads. The ninth-ranked Engineers are now 5-1 on the season with wins in each of their last four contests. The visiting Brewers slip to 2-3 overall.

RPI came out big offensively in the opening half, scoring six straight goals over the first two quarters to grab a wide advantage. Senior midfielder Nick Billy (Redding, CT/Joel Barlow) got things going at 11:04 of the opening stanza on a nice shot from 15-yards out off a short pass from junior Grant Foulsham (Madison, NJ/Madison).

Sophomore Wes Rudy (Doylestown, PA/The Hill School) made it a two-goal advantage just a minute later and the Engineers continued to press throughout the first quarter as classmate Brett Overend (Laguna Hills, CA/Laguna Hills) and Foulsham notched goals to make it a 4-0 margin.

The second quarter saw Rudy notch his second of the contest just 41 seconds into the stanza and rookie Scott O'Leary (Grafton, MA/Milton Academy) punched in his 12th of the season with 4:02 left on the clock.

Vassar had several good chances to get on the board as it held possession throughout much of the closing minutes of the second quarter. Junior Jeff Lee (Syosset, NY/Syosset) had the Brewers best opportunity with 1:58 remaining as he fired in a shot from five-yards out which ricocheted off the crossbar and out into play.

In the second half it was Rensselaer which gained control of the momentum early as senior captain Conor Chocheles (Babylon, NY/Babylon) netted back-to-back tallies in the first three minutes of the third quarter to make it an 8-0 game. Neither team would find the back of the net over the final 12:48 of the frame.

RPI's Eric Valero (Princeton Jct., NJ/W. Windsor Plainboro) quickly made it a nine-goal difference just 56 seconds into the final quarter, but the Brewers struck back. Junior attack Christopher Toffoli (Lino Lakes, MN/Centennial) collected a nice pass from rookie Max Herman (Flemington, NJ/Hunterdon Central) before sending a bouncing shot toward the RPI net. Sophomore goalie James Manchester (Niskayuna, NY/Niskayuna) shifted to make the play, but the ball took an odd hop in front as it sailed in at the right post.

Lee would add another tally for the visitors at the 2:31 mark, but it wasn't enough as the Engineers maintained ball possession down the stretch for the win.

Rudy and Chocheles led the offensive front for Rensselaer as each netted a pair of goals, while Chocheles added an assist. Foulsham also had a solid effort with a goal and two assists in the game. In goal, Manchester made four saves in 53:37 before giving way to rookie Alex Castronovo (Garden City, NY/Garden City), who did not make any stops.

For Vassar, Lee and Toffoli had the goals, while Herman picked up the lone assist. Senior Alex Tice (Oakland, CA/St. Ignatius Prep) shouldered the loss with eight saves, including consecutive stops against Billy in the second quarter. Rookie Andrew Nicol (Carmel, NY/Brewster) came on in the second half, stopping 12 shots in relief, including a number of key stops in the third quarter as the Engineers held a 16-2 shot differential.

RPI is back in action on Saturday as it hosts Montclair State at East Campus Stadium (2pm). Vassar also returns to action on Saturday, welcoming SUNY Farmingdale in Poughkeepsie (2pm).

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