The No. 1 RIT (19-0) men's lacrosse team advanced to the NCAA Division III Quarterfinals for the fifth straight season and 14th time overall with a convincing 20-8 win over No. 15 Ithaca College (15-5) in Saturday's Second Round NCAA Tournament Game from Tiger Stadium on the campus of RIT.
The Tigers will host No. 9 Union College on Wednesday, May 14 at Tiger Stadium in the quarterfinals. It will be the third time these two teams face each other this season, with RIT winning the first two meetings at home earlier in the season, 9-8 on April 16 and 13-11 in the Liberty League Championship on May 4. The winner advances to the national semifinals next Sunday.
RIT outshot Ithaca 60-27 and won the ground ball battle 47-29. Both teams won 15-of-30 face-offs, while the Tigers were a perfect 28-of-28 on clearing attempts. The RIT ride confounded the Bombers with Ithaca going just 17-of-24 on clears. RIT went 2-of-4 on man-up chances, while Ithaca finished with one goal on four man-up chances.
"That was a great team effort," said RIT head coach Jake Coon, who coached in his 100th game at RIT today, improving to 87-13 in five seasons. "I thought our defense did a great job causing turnovers and keeping Ithaca out of a rhythm, and Pat (Johnston) and later Anthony (DeLeo) made big saves when we needed them. I thought we shared the ball really well offensively and created a lot of great chances."
Casey Jackson (Victoria, BC/Claremont) and Ryan Lee (Sharon, Ontario/The Hill Academy) led a potent RIT offensive attack with five points apiece. Jackson finished with four goals and an assist to reach the 50-goal mark on the season, while Lee tallied three goals and dished out two assists. In all, 11 different Tigers scored goals. Tyler Brooks-Lambert (Seneca Castle, NY/Midlakes), Kyle Sterzin (Fairport, NY/Fairport), Tyler Shaw (Tully, NY/Tully) and Braden Wallace (Oakville, Ontario/Abbey Park) each scored two goals. Eddie Kiesa (Syracuse, NY/Jamesville-Dewitt) and Kyle Aquin (Hamilton, Ontario/St. Jean De Brebeuf) each had a goal and two assists, while JD Hall (Centennial, CO/Arapahoe) had a pair of helpers.
RIT scored 20 goals in a game for the fifth time this season and surpassed the 15-goal mark for the 15th time in 19 contests. RIT is averaging 17.1 goals per game in 2014.
Pat Johnston (Long Beach, CA/Norwell (MA)) improved to 14-0 on the season in net for RIT, making 10 saves. Brooks-Lambert went 12-of-24 on face-offs and grabbed six ground balls. Baird Wilber (Penn Yan, NY/Penn Yan Academy) caused three turnovers and had two ground balls, while Jay Krzyston (Bedford, NH/Bishop Guertin) and Pat Hannigan each caused a pair of turnovers for the Tigers defense.
Ithaca opened the scoring when Michael Walker scored at 13:59 giving the Bombers and early 1-0 lead.
RIT came right back, tallying five straight goals, taking a 5-1 lead on Brooks-Lambert's sixth goal of the season. Warren took a feed from Aquin at 12:12 and buried a shot, tying the score at 1-1. Jackson and Lee combined at 11:36 giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead on Jackson's 48th goal of the season. Matt Hossack (Port Perry, Ontario/Port Perry) and Brad Gillies (Oakville, Ontario/St. Thomas Aquinas) hooked up in transition at 7:08 giving RIT a 3-1 lead on Hossack's fast break goal. Lee and Brooks-Lambert each tallied giving the Tigers a 5-1 lead.
James Manilla broke the Tigers run with his 25th goal of the season off a feed from Jimmy Ryan at 4:58 of the first quarter, cutting the RIT lead to 5-2. RIT ended the quarter on a nice goal by Sterzin. He took a nifty feed from Kiesa, spun and shot in one motion tallying his 11th goal of the season giving RIT a 6-2 lead.
The Bombers came back in the second quarter, tallying the first two goals, cutting the Tigers lead to 6-4 on Walker's second goal of the game at 11:17 off a feed from Pat Slawta.
Johnston made a huge save on a stuff-in attempt moments later and Wallace and Lee answered right back for RIT, taking an 8-4 lead on Lee's 44th goal of the season off a feed from Aquin.
After a Ryan Burns goal made it 8-5, RIT tallied three straight, taking an 11-5 lead on Lee's second goal of the half and 45th of the season off a nice pass from Jackson.John Januszkiewicz scored with 0.7 seconds remaining in the first half off a loose ball in front of the RIT crease. He scooped up and scored just before the buzzer sounded, making it 11-6 at the half
RIT dominated the third quarter, out-scoring Ithaca 5-1 to take a 16-7 lead. RIT tallied the first three goals, as Jackson tallied his 49th of the season off a feed from Lee at 12:44, while Wallace tallied his second of the game at 12:08 to make it 13-6. Jackson took a feed from Kiesa at 10:46 for goal number 50 on the season to give the Tigers a 14-6 edge.
Walker broke the run by RIT with his third goal of the game at 1:57 of the third quarter. Slawta found Burns on man-up and he buried the shot for his 21st of the season.
Just nine seconds after Walker's goal, Brooks-Lambert won the face-off and charged to the net, scoring into the top corner for his seventh of the season and second of the game. Jackson scored with one second to play in the quarter giving RIT a 16-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Kiesa, Sterzin, Shaw and Alec Sulesky (Medina, OH/Medina) each scored goals in the fourth quarter for RIT, while Walker added his fourth of the game at 8:50, making it a 20-8 final.
The goal by Kiesa early in the fourth quarter gave RIT 322 for the season, breaking the previous record of 321, set in 2013. The Tigers now have 325 goals in 19 games this season.
RIT outscored Ithaca 9-2 in the second half, winning 8-of-12 face-offs, while out-shooting the Bombers 29-13. RIT controlled the ground ball battle as well, grabbing 26 to just nine for Ithaca.
Walker led Ithaca with four goals. Manilla had a goal and an assist, while Slawta finished with a pair of assists. Scott Sidnam took the loss in net for the Bombers, making 18 saves. Matt Greenblatt won 10-of-19 draws and had seven ground balls.
RIT has now won 29 straight home contests and are 73-7 over the last four years. RIT tied a school record by winning its 19th game of the season, having also done so in 2011 (19-1) and 2013 (19-3).