Third time's a charm, RIT lax beats Tufts in NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals

Posted at: 05/15/2013 9:15 PM | Updated at: 05/15/2013 11:38 PM

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ROCHESTER, NY – The RIT (18-2) men’s lacrosse team jumped out a 10-3 halftime lead and advanced to the semifinals of the 2013 NCAA Division III Men’s Lacrosse Championship with a 14-5 win over Tufts University (16-5) in the quarterfinals from Tiger Stadium on a warm, breezy, Wednesday afternoon. The Tigers, ranked third in the final USILA Division III pool, will face No. 1 and undefeated SUNY Cortland (19-0) in the National Semifinals on Sunday, May 19 in Cortland, NY. RIT has now won 12 straight games.

“I thought that was a complete team effort today,” said RIT Head Coach Jake Coon. “Our defense was great, (Pat) Johnston was great in net, the face-off guys were great and our offense played great.”

RIT’s defense held the Jumbos to five goals, forcing Tufts into 21 turnovers. Pat Johnston (Norwell, MA/Norwell) picked up his 18th win of the season, making 15 saves. Luke Wolfe (Buffalo, NY/Williamsville North) and Joe Dupra (Pittsford, NY/Pittsford Mendon) led RIT with two caused turnovers apiece, while Elliott Cowburn (Oakville, ON/Holy Trinity) had a caused turnover and six ground balls.

“Our defense had a game plan going into today and they stuck with it,” said Coon. “They played under control and let Pat see the shots coming and he made the saves.”

Jack Krzyston (Bedford, NH/Bishop Guertin), Eddie Kiesa (Syracuse, NY/Jamesville-Dewitt) and Kyle Aquin (Hamilton, Ontario/St. Jean De Brebeuf) led RIT’s offense with four points apiece. Kryzston and Kiesa each had three goals and an assist, while Aquin tallied two goals and dished out a pair of assists. Allister Warren (Toronto, Ontario/Malvern Collegiate Institute) scored a pair of goals, while Taylor Wisman (Seattle, WA/Inglemoor) had a goal and two assists for the Tigers who advance to their second national semifinals in three years. Kryston recored his 100th career point in the victory.

“Our offense executed the game plan very well today,” stated Coon who is now 67-12 (.848) in four years at the helm of the Tigers program. “We stayed under control and buried shots when we had them.”

Shots were 43-34 in favor of RIT, who also won the ground ball battle 48-32. The Tigers dominated at the face-off “X”, winning 16-of-23. Junior Tyler Brooks-Lambert (Seneca Castle, NY/Midlakes) won 13-of-20 draws and had nine ground balls. PJ Hart (Camillus, NY/West Genesee) was 3-for-3 on the afternoon.

“(Tyler) Brooks-Lambert, (PJ) Hart, Mac Keehfus (Jamesville, NY/Jamesville-Dewitt), Luke Wolfe (Buffalo, NY/Williamsville North), Brad Gillies (Oakville, Ontario/St. Thomas Aquinas), and Matt Hossack (Port Perry, Ontario/Port Perry) all did outstanding jobs today on face-offs,” said Coon. “If the face-off guys didn’t win it clean, our wings would come in and win the ground ball.”

Andrew Fiamengo led Tufts with a goal and an assist. Chris Schoenhut, Cole Bailey, Garrett Clarke and Peter Bowers each had goals for the Jumbos who finish their season with a 16-5 record. Patton Watkins took the loss in net for Tufts, making 17 saves.

Wisman opened the scoring with 9:57 to play in the first quarter on his 27th goal of the season. Then, Kryzston scored off a feed from Aquin with 3:08 to play in the opening quarter to give RIT a 2-0 lead. After a goal from Fiamengo cut RIT’s lead to 2-1, goals by Aquin and Gillies to close out the quarter gave RIT a 4-1 lead. The Tigers out-shot Tufts 13-5 over the opening 15 minutes and missed a couple of point-blank chances early on.

Johnston made a tremendous sliding save on a point-blank chance early in the second quarter to keep it 4-1. Right after, Krzyston and Zack Thompson (Orangeville, Ontario/Culver Academy) extended RIT’s lead to 6-1 at the 12:09 mark of the quarter. Schoenhut scored a man-up goal with 11:09 to play in the half cutting the Tiger’s lead to 6-2.

The Tigers rattled off four straight goals later in the second quarter to take the win out of Tufts' sails, grabbing a 10-2 lead on Kiesa’s second goal of the quarter off an assist from Krzyston. Aquin, Hossack and Kiesa each had goals in that stretch for RIT.

Peter Bowers scored for Tufts with 1:31 to play in the first half, making it a 10-3 RIT lead at halftime.

Allister Warren scored the lone goal of the third quarter, tallying an unassisted goal with 13:49 to play in the quarter giving RIT an 11-3 lead.

Cole Bailey opened the fourth-quarter scoring for Tufts, tallying his 30th goal of the season at the 11:35 mark. Warren, Krzyston and Kiesa scored consecutive goals for RIT, making 14-4 RIT. Garrett Clarke scored late for Tufts making it a 14-5 final.

The Tigers improved to 13-0 at home this season and have won 20 straight home contests dating back to April, 2012. Under Coon, RIT is 44-3 in home contests.

RIT is now 13-14 all-time in 15 different NCAA Tournament appearances. Under Coon, RIT has made four straight NCAA Tournament appearances and advance to the national semifinal game for the second time in three years. RIT advanced to the quarterfinals in 2010 and 2012. The Tigers are 7-3 in NCAA play since 2010.

The Tigers exacted a bit of revenge on the Jumbos on Wednesday. Tufts ended RIT's seasons in the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two years. In 2011, Tufts defeated RIT 16-12 in the semifinals in Rochester. Last year, RIT fell to the Jumbos 15-13 in the quarterfinals in Medford, Mass.

The game Sunday at Cortland is a rematch from a classic contest on March 27 that Cortland won 12-11 in double overtime. RIT held an 11-9 lead late in the fourth quarter before Cortland rallied. These two teams last met in the NCAA Tournament back in 2010 with Cortland coming away with a 15-7 win in the quarterfinals. Cortland leads the all-time series between the two schools, 20-13. Cortland advanced to the semifinals after defeating Western New England, 12-7 on Wednesday.

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