May 18, 2011

RIT Runs, Guns Its Way Past Amherst

by Will Cleveland | | Live Blog Replay

Senior Jordan MacIntosh enjoyed a huge NCAA quarterfinal performance with five goals and three assists, propelling RIT past Amherst 15-10. The Tigers will host defending national champion Tufts in the Division III semifinals.

© Jim Burke

HENRIETTA, N.Y. — Senior Jordan MacIntosh had five goals and three assists and senior Iric Bressler added two goals and six assists to lead the Rochester Institute of Technology to a 15-10 win over Amherst in the NCAA Division III men's lacrosse quarterfinals Wednesday.

RIT (19-0) advances to the Division III semifinals to face defending national champion Tufts (17-2) on Sunday at home.

Amherst (15-3), which was playing in the quarterfinals for the first time in program history, seized early control with back-to-back man-up goals, but the Tigers answered to take a 3-2 lead they would never relinquish.

"I thought [goalie] Bob [Tonnessen] bailed us out a bunch of times," said second-year RIT coach Jake Coon, who played in two semifinals as a goalie at Nazareth. "In the first half, they were getting to the ground balls and in the third quarter, I thought we were getting to the ground balls a little better. That was the difference in the second half.

"We talked about, at halftime, just being a little more patient, make sure we get our clears. Because our offense can score if we get it down there, but we have to make sure we get our clears. We were trying to push the ball at times, which is OK, it's our game, but we have to rein it back and not force things."

The Lord Jeffs, who had five different goal-scorers in the first half, seemed poised to go into halftime tied at 6, but RIT goalie Bob Tonnessen came up with a huge point-blank save with about 10 seconds left that shifted momentum. After the Tonnessen save, MacIntosh scored with 0.3 seconds remaining in the first half. RIT led 7-5 at halftime.

"I thought it was an energizer going into halftime," said MacIntosh, who had a career-high eight points. "I just ran down there, caught it, and threw it at the net and see what happens. With that much time left, anything at the end of the half, anything that can get us going into the next half is big."

The Tigers continued to dominate in the third quarter, as they outscored the Lord Jeffs 5-2. Bressler and junior Jordan Collins-Hartwig each scored twice during the third quarter for RIT, which used a 5-0 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters to take a 14-7 lead.

"Quite frankly, I think their intent to play their style of lacrosse was greater than our intent," first-year Amherst coach Jon Thompson. "I think they forced the issue of playing their fast-paced, up-and-down game. They're excellent at it. Coach Koon is one of the best young coaches in the country, and he's got these guys playing fast, and they've got the ability to move the ball so darn quickly that it's hard to keep up with it."

Cole Charney scored four goals and Evan Redwood added two goals and two assists for the Lord Jeffs, but Thompson hopes they have developed an identity to help shape future Amherst teams.

"Really, I am excited about the outcomes," Thompson said. "We have proven time and time again that we are a resilient bunch. And if that's the only thing that comes out of this season, that the identity of Amherst lacrosse is now resiliency, that's a really important stepping stone to getting to where we want to get."

The experienced RIT senior class paved the way. Bressler and MacIntosh paced the offense and Tonnessen anchored the defense.

"They are all fantastic players," Coon said. "We are going to go as far as they want us to go. They are a smart group, they are a hard-working group, and definitely a talented group. As long as they play within themselves and not let the pressure build, I think they will be good down the stretch here. We have a lot of confidence in those guys and we try to get them on the field as much as we can."

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