April 30, 2014

Latimer's Eight Leads Keuka Into NEAC Finals

from press release

KEUKA PARK, N.Y. - Senior Connor Latimer (Whitby, Ont./Father Leo J. Austin) scored a season-high eight points on six goals with two assists and junior Cory Gray (Seneca Castle, NY/Midlakes) added a season-high six goals as the Keuka College men's lacrosse team advanced into the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) championship after knocking off Medaille College 17-7 Wednesday.

Junior James Voigt (Penn Yan, NY/Penn Yan) added two goals with three assists and sophomore Matt Beebe (Syracuse, NY/LaFayette) and freshman Jamie Kuppel (Liverpool, NY/Liverpool) each had one goal with three assists in the win as the top-seeded Storm (13-0) remained undefeated and extended their win streak to 25 games dating to the start of the 2013 season.

Junior Eric Saltrelli (Webster, NY/Webster Schroeder) made 14 saves, senior Scott Miller (Penn Yan, NY/Penn Yan) caused four turnovers and junior Marc Sacco (East Syracuse, NY/East Syracuse-Minoa) collected eight groundballs and caused three turnovers for the three-time defending NEAC champions from Keuka College.

We have a lot of good ball movement out there, our offense is clicking, our defense is stopping the other teams' best players and (Eric) Saltrelli is making some great saves for us," said Gray, who has 16 of his 32 goals in the last four games.

"Right now, we're clicking on all cylinders. Today we were trying to work the ball around, take good shots and find the open man and our defense locked down on their important players and we got the win."

The Storm will now play No. 2 Morrisville State (13-3) at 4 p.m. Saturday in the NEAC championship. The Mustangs knocked off No. 3 Hilbert 9-4 to advance into the title game.

Keuka College beat Morrisville State 9-5 (April 5) during the regular season.

Unlike the last three NEAC postseason championships, this one has added significance for the 34 student-athletes on the Green and Gold. If Keuka College is able to successfully complete the four-peat, the Storm will be rewarded with the program's first trip to the NCAA Division III tournament.

This is the first year the NEAC's postseason champion will earn an automatic qualifier into the NCAA tournament.

Against Medaille, senior Zachary Koczent (Geneva, NY/Geneva) won 12 of 18 faceoffs and also collected seven groundballs as the Storm earned their 25th straight win against a NEAC foe. The last loss to a NEAC opponent came March 31, 2012 when the Morrisville State Mustangs handed the Green and Gold a 12-8 setback.

Latimer and Gray each scored 45 seconds apart to put the Green and Gold up 2-0 early in the semifinal. Voigt and Beebe added goals 1:20 apart later in the quarter and the Storm took a 4-0 lead into the second.

Gray had an unassisted tally and Latimer added a man-up goal as the Green and Gold led 6-0 halfway through the second. Gray added two more first-half goals as the Storm took an 8-1 lead into halftime.

Latimer and Gray each had two goals and Voigt, Kuppel and junior Derek Pfeiffer (Lee Center, NY/Rome Free Academy) each scored in the third as the Storm's lead grew to 15-2 after three quarters.

Miller, Sacco and freshmen Trevor Jones (Jamesville, NY/LaFayette) and Dustin Springer (Liverpool, NY/Liverpool) clamped down and held Brock Levick, the NEAC's Player of the Year, scoreless in the first half.

Levick finished with three goals, but only had one tally in the first 53:55 as the Storm held an opponent to eight or fewer goals for the eighth time in their last nine games.

"Our defense is playing well, our offense is clicking on all cylinders and our midfielders are working hard to get our offense going," said Miller, the NEAC's Defensive Player of the Year.

"We're peaking at the right time. We're working on ourselves at this time, which makes us work together as a unit to get through the NEAC's right now. It's always a good game when we play Morrisville and it's always nice to have one more chance to beat them. We all want to win NEAC's so bad and get the chance to play in the NCAA tournament."

The Storm are one of three undefeated Division III programs in the country, having won 24 straight contests since a season-opening loss to No. 1-ranked RIT on March 9, 2013.

On Monday, the Green and Gold were among the schools receiving votes in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association's weekly Top 20 poll.

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