February 27, 2014

Morning Jac: Small College Midweek Report

Tyler McKelvie scored five goals, leading Keene State to an upset over No. 10 Western New England. (Brian Cantore | main page photo: Risley Sports Photos)

by Jac Coyne | LaxMagazine.com | Coyne Archive | Twitter

Game of the Midweek

Keene State's five-goal third-quarter lead was evaporating quickly, but Owls head coach Mark Theriault stood on the sideline stoically. Over the course of 6:55, KSC's lead dwindled from 8-3 to nonexistent, as Western New England used three Owl penalties to rattle off five straight and tie the contest at eight.

Ninety-three seconds later, the Golden Bears had their first lead of the contest.

Most coaches would have reflexively responded with a timeout to slow the onslaught, but Theriault never made the signal. He was going to ride this one out.

"I felt that the goals were man-up and the team was still playing well and rested enough to play defense," Theriault said. "I felt that it would be close at the end of the game and wanted to use my timeouts at that point."

Theriault's players paid him off, stemming the Western New England tide for the remainder of the third, and then netting the first three goals of the fourth – including the fifth marker of the game from sophomore Tyler McKelvie – to regain a lead the Owls would never lose. When the whistle sounded, it was KSC with the 12-10 upset of the No. 10 Bears.

One of the big differences in the game was the play of sophomore Alex Sharp, who made 12 saves in comparison to the four stops made by WNE.

"He was our No. 1 goalie last year and gained some experience playing in big games," Theriault said. "He made a few great stops at clutch times that lead to some great offensive plays."

It's a solid way to start the season for the Owls, but things don't get much easier. After RPI this weekend, a string of five straight NESCAC teams – Bowdoin, No. 6 Tufts, No. 19 Wesleyan, Hamilton and Bates – await.

"We are playing one game at a time and hoping that this win is motivation to keep working hard and do extra work every day," Theriault said.

Close Shave for Adelphi

Gordon Purdie wasn't sure what to think about his team's readiness prior to Adelphi's game with Lenoir-Rhyne on Tuesday evening.

"Having met with the captains and seniors before the game, one stated, 'We have been practicing like we think we are unbeatable,' Purdie said. "That can be a good thing or a bad thing. Clearly, it was a bad thing for us."

The Panthers, ranked No. 1 in Lacrosse Magazine's weekly poll, escaped with an 11-10 overtime victory against the Bears as Nick Watson connected for his third goal of the contest for the game-winner.

"Lenoir-Rhyne was well coached and a tough team," Purdie said. "They had every chance to win; we happened to take the last shot of the game that scored. They were a seasoned team that were ready to play. Clearly giving up the first two goals did not help our confidence."

L-R grabbed the early lead and held onto it until midway through the second quarter, and the two teams headed into halftime tied at six. A 4-1 third quarter gave all the momentum – and a 10-7 lead – to Adelphi, but the Bears didn't go away. They blanked the Panthers in the final frame, helped by seven of Alex Squires 19 saves on the night, while scoring three and forcing extra time.

The Panthers spring break trip is not done, as they face Mars Hill on Thursday. The Lions only lost by three to Mercyhurst over the weekend, so they'll be another stiff test for the Panthers.

"My message was made at the conclusion of the game: we are the hunted," Purdie said. "Every game on our schedule is going to be tough. Southern lacrosse is strong and teams traveling south need to be wary of that."

Slides & Rides

- I set aside an entire sub-head for the Roanoke-Denison game, but what is there to say? The Big Red dominated from start to finish in a 12-4 win and the only thing that kept it from being a blowout was the 25 saves from 'Noke's Charles Pease. And when was the last time that a team went on the road and didn't have a single penalty? Denison is a frightening outfit right now.

- The last time Dickinson allowed more than the 19 goals they coughed up to Cabrini on Wednesday was back in '06 when Lynchburg scorched them, 20-13. That game was kind of close; this one wasn't. After holding Lacrosse Magazine's Preseason Player of the Year Corey Elmer to just an assist last year, the Red Devils couldn't handle Elmer, allowing him to go off for five goals and three dimes.

As is the case at this time of year, the question begs: does this result reflect more on the victor or the victim? With the Red Devils' track record, I'm inclined to chalk this up to 'one of those games,' especially on the road. With that said, if the Cavs head down to D.C. and blow the doors off of Lynchburg, we've got a Memorial Day candidate on our hands – something that has never been seriously said about Cabrini before.

- Speaking of blowing doors off, York has responded to its overtime loss to Stevenson by rocking a pair of Centennial combatants. It started with a 17-7 rout of Muhlenberg, but, more impressively, it continued with a 13-5 walk-over of F&M on Wednesday. The Dips actually had a 4-3 lead 19 minutes into the contest, but the Spartans responded by netting 10 of the next 11 goals, including the last seven. York should be 7-1 heading into the Salisbury game on March 22.

Division II: Post improved to 2-0 in its inaugural season by taking down AIC. Junior goalie Anthony DeRosa (8.00 GAA; 62.8 sv%) has been the standout so far for the Eagles...Wingate had a chance to go 3-0, holding an 8-7 lead at the half against Coker. Alas, the Cobras scored the next seven goals in a 15-10 win...three-time defending DSC champion Catawba is 0-3 after losing 9-8 to Saint Leo.

Division III: Pat Slawta had four goals and two assists as No. 15 Ithaca breezed past Oswego in the Bombers season opener on Tuesday. An 8-0 second period put the Lakers away...Gettysburg's Martin Manilla scored six goals and dished out six assists in the Bullets 17-6 rout of Goucher...Drew retained the coveted "Madison Cup" with a 6-4 win over next door neighbor, FDU-Florham...Augustana opened its season by thrashing Hendrix, 17-3...Arcadia beat Immaculata, 13-6, in Jim Stagnitta's debut...John Carroll finally dropped its first game, but it took double overtime for Wooster to do it, 8-7...Hanover's Chris Baney set a school record with six goals in one quarter in the Panthers' 20-2 win over Bethany.

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