May 7, 2014

Ithaca Defense Locks Down Montclair State

from press release

ITHACA, N.Y. – The 15th-ranked Ithaca College men's lacrosse team (15-4) held 14th-ranked Montclair State (16-2) scoreless for over 40 minutes en route to a 13-4 victory in the first round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament Wednesday at Higgins Stadium. Ithaca will travel to top-ranked and undefeated Rochester Institute of Technology on Saturday, May 10 for a second-round contest at a time to be determined. The Tigers' last loss came in the 2013 NCAA championship game.

Ithaca netted 11 unanswered goals to rewrite a 4-2 deficit, while holding the Red Hawks scoreless for over 42 minutes. Montclair State opened all scoring five minutes into action. Senior Ryan Burns used a James Manilla assist to even the game at 7:10. Sophomore Michael Walker backed Burns' goal with an unassisted score at 4:27, but MSU tallied again for a 2-2 deadlock at the end of the first.

The Red Hawks surged with back-to-back goals to open the second fame, but the Bombers posted five straight over a six-minute span for a 7-4 cushion at intermission. Sophomore Eli Gobrecht dished out his first career assist on the final goal of the period. He picked up a ground ball following a Scott Sidnam save and drove the length of the field to find senior Pat Slawta at the right post for the score.

Manilla, who had six points on the day, tallied the lone third-period goal at 12:50. Senior Jake Long scored twice in 51 seconds for a 10-4 lead at the eight-minute mark of the fourth. Manilla assisted freshman Justin Bird and Slawta just 36 seconds apart for a 12-4 gap at 6:31. Burns capitalized on a Long feed at 4:56 to finalize all scoring, 13-4.

Manilla had a career-high five feeds on the day and added one goal. His 39 assists this season rank seventh on the all-time single-season list.

Slawta scored his 100th career goal with his first of the day and added another three and an assist for a five-point performance. Slawta sits seventh for single-season goals with 47 and 10th with 70 single-season points.

Long and Burns had two scores each, while Long, senior Joe Perkins and Gobrecht each chipped in an assist. Seniors Andrew Kristy and Casey Schattner, Walker and Bird accounted for one apiece. Junior Jimmy Ryan, who netted one, led the game with a career-high eight ground balls. Gobrecht forced a pair of turnovers.

Junior Matt Greenblatt won a season-best 10 faceoffs and senior Brandon Henne added four victories. The Bombers led the category, 14-6. Greenblatt and Gobrecht collected four ground balls each for the Bombers.

MSU outshot Ithaca, 47-36, placing 23 shots on goal. Sidnam tied a career-high with a 16-save performance, his seventh double-digit save game of the season.

Ithaca reached the 15-wins mark for the third time in program history and first since a school record 17 wins in 2008. The Bombers won the Empire 8 championship and advanced to the NCAA semifinals in 2008. The win improved Ithaca's NCAA postseason record to 10-11.

The Bombers and Tigers met earlier this season, with RIT edging Ithaca, 15-11, on March 1. The pair has squared off 50 times dating back to the inaugural game in 1967. The Bombers lead the series, 29-21, though the Tigers have tallied five consecutive victories. For decades the squads battled annually in conference play, most recently when RIT was a member of the Empire 8 conference.

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