October 20, 2013

Top Squads Rochester, Onondaga and Le Moyne Tangle

by Jacob Klinger | LaxMagazine.com

The Lazers - winners of 70 straight games - showed well against two of the top DII/DIII teams in RIT and Le Moyne.
© Greg Wall 

Onondaga Community College attackers didn't need long stretches of possession.

They hardly had any, but a series of dodge-pass-score combos were all the Lazers needed to torment the Rochester Institute of Technology's defense Sunday afternoon in the Inaugural Room2Smile Fall Classic at Le Moyne's Ted Grant Field.

The Tigers came back to win, 12-10, scoring eight goals in the reserve-filled fourth quarter, but the game belonged to OCC – even if the ball didn't – on a day when the Lazers also showed well in a 15-11 loss to Le Moyne.

"For us to be able to play with two teams that are as good and talented as them for a team that's so young, we'll be happy with that," OCC head coach Chuck Wilbur said.

RIT finished the three-game event with an 8-5 win against Le Moyne.

But the best attacking displays came from the five-time defending NJCAA national champion Lazers. Kenny Tomeno gave RIT faceoff specialist Tyler Brooks-Lambert his sternest test of the day while dodging, shooting and flipping passes freely in the open field.

With four and a half minutes left in the first quarter, Tomeno burned past Derek Searle on the left and fired into the upper-right corner to give OCC a 3-0 lead before winning the ensuing faceoff.

RIT struggled to contain OCC when the Lazers won possession. Graduated seniors Elliott Cowburn and Evan Burley were noticeably absent and Joe Dupra missed Sunday's scrimmages. Dupra sat with what Tigers head coach Jake Coon called "an issue off the field."

"He missed a practice basically," Coon said.

Baird Wilber, Jay Kryzyston and Josh Harris made up the starting back line. Coon said Dupra might replace Harris when he returns.

First-choice goalkeeper Pat Johnston also missed the games with a broken foot. Deleo started Sunday, just as he did two seasons ago, but Coon said he expects Johnston back for the spring season.

A consistent stream of fouls and off-ball pushes signaled neither team took the scrimmage lightly.

"It's the name of the game – go ham, go hard," OCC midfielder Vaughn Harris said.

With two minutes left in the third quarter, a mess of loose checks and shoves after the play resulted in Deleo end with multiple flags and Deleo jogging off with a penalty.

The Lazers took advantage then and throughout the game, scoring three man-up goals. RIT failed to capitalize.

RIT cycled through its offense with relative ease, but too many of the shots it did get off in the half field, bounced and sailed wide.

"I thought we were just a little sluggish with our legs," RIT head coach Jake Coon said. "We weren't dodging real hard on offense."

That control of the ball, however, was the Tigers' best defense against the Lazers' quick-strike attack.

With RIT content on the perimeter and OCC repeatedly failing to clear, the Tigers held possession for almost all of the second quarter's final 10 minutes, but failed to score.

For the OCC attackers playing against a pair of possession-based offenses, Sunday was an exercise in patience, but ultimately punishment for opposing defenses.

A drab 18-minute goalless stretch of play marked dominated by RIT's near-absolute control of the ball was only broken by jumps and whoops from the OCC bench as the Lazers fought for ground balls.

Harris put and end to the spell with a cut-and-finish from in close with 8:20 left in the third quarter.

Tomeno and Wilbur both said they thought their attack was better the longer it had the ball, but both were happy flashing past the Division-II and III elite Sunday.

"It just all comes together when we get the ball," Harris said.

Dolphins See Full Lineup

Le Moyne head coach Dan Sheehan was happy to empty the bench at halftime of Sunday's finale with RIT.

"We've got kids that have buddies on both teams, so it's nice to get out there and cover a friend or something like that," Sheehan said.

After leading by one at halftime, RIT pulled away. First with its starters, who played much more of the third quarter than Le Moyne's, than the reserves.

But Sheehan left Sunday's games noting improved patience from his offense but bemoaning the Dolphins' finishing. Sheehan also complimented Andrew Jackson, noting the attacker adds an extra dimension to the defending champions' offense as the head coach looks to solidify a first-choice front six.

The Dolphins had a two-hour break between games after starting at 10 a.m. against OCC, leading Sheehan to pull his starting guns early and hardly worry about the final scores.

Said Sheehan: "It's a long day, everybody uses the fall for something different."

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