Not all college lacrosse games are played before boisterous crowds, or are potentially going to produce a Sportscenter Top 10 moment . . . well, it might, but ESPN isn’t filming it. For FAU and FIU it’s more about getting a chance to continuing playing. FIU was not able to field a squad last year and FAU struggles to gain recognition and support from a university that has no problem throwing around big money on football and basketball coaches. Of course, once the first face-off whistle is blown none of that matters, and it just becomes a lacrosse game. And given the names on the front of the uniforms it ended up meaning something. We have plenty of natural rivalries in this state, and this is one of them. Bragging rights will always be an important part of this. Which meant we were going to see a 60-minute effort from both sides.
And that’s what we got.
FAU was able to overcome an 8-3 halftime deficit to rally for an 11-10 win over their rival as their rode a 7-1 third quarter to take their first lead since 1-0 early in the game and after FIU tied it in the fourth, was able to score the deciding goal with 7:44 left in the game, holding on for the one goal win.
You couldn’t tell those of us in attendance that it didn’t matter. It was an excellent game to watch and if FAU ever gets serious about supporting this program there is no reason we can’t be watching something pretty special down the line. A D2 program here, competing against local rivals Lynn and Palm Beach Atlantic (who announced their own intentions to join D2 a few years down the line) would be a natural. Come on AD Chun, start to think it through! How can a college host a professional lacrosse team and NOT support their own team?
By the way, after the game, sources within FAU confirmed to me that the school will be deciding next week whether their program will join the MCLA, likely in Division 2. Let’s hope the decision is a positive one.
FAU started out the scoring less than 2 minutes into the game, on the EMO, as Keith McDavid took a left, goal line extended feed from Chase Lansing on the right wing and fired home left-handed to the high, left corner at 13:18. FIU responded with two goals of their own. First, Stephen Fernandez scored at 8:57 unassisted, as he picked off a clearing attempt in the middle of the field and dashed down the middle, hitting the low, right side with a left-hand shot. Then at 6:45 Mikey Rodriguez scored unassisted on a face dodge down the middle, with a right-hand bounce shot to the left side. FAU tied it up at 2:37, again on the EMO, as Ray Williams walked in from up top and fired from straight away, hitting the low, right side to make it 2-2. FIU then responded with two goals in the last minute of the quarter to make it 4-2 after one. Fernandez scored his second with 38 seconds left, unassisted, as he picked up a loose ball off a save in front of the net and lobbed it over the right shoulder of the FAU goalie. That was followed up 21 seconds later as Erik Quisenberry-Diaz took a cross-crease pass on the right crease from Jay Snyder on a fast break and placed it high to end the quarter.
FIU extended the lead to 5-2 at 7:29 of the second as Fernandez took advantage of a fast break, splitting two defenders and finishing left-hand low, left corner. FAU’s Tim Newcomb got that one back just 21 seconds later, on a 3rd EMO, taking McDavid’s lower right wing feed further up the wing and firing one to the low, far side for 5-3. FIU responded less than a minute later to regain the 3-goal advantage, as long pole Thomas Klosowski took advantage of a caused turnover to run down the right alley and hitting the net low to the left corner at 6:10. FIU lengthened the lead out to 8-3 at the end of the half by again scoring twice in the last minute of the period. Rodriguez scored unassisted at :39, dodging from the left to the middle and scoring right-handed against the grain into the lower left corner and that was followed at :22 as Quisenberry-Diaz picked up a loose ball in front and bounced it in for the final score of the half.
FAU came out in the third quarter with the intention of turning the game around and at 13:29 Tobin Stauffer scored unassisted as he curled out from behind the right side of the cage and made his way in front, finishing between the legs to make it 8-4. FIU responded quickly at 13:04, as Rodriguez scored from in front off a feed from the left side from Klosowski to make it 9-4. But FAU responded with two more goals in under a minute to cut the lead to three. Stauffer scored unassisted at 11:21 as he scooped up a loose ball on left GLE and worked his way to the front and that was followed 22 seconds later as Kevin Fallon also scored unassisted, working out from right GLE up the wing and the low far side with the left hand to make it 9-6.
FAU then turned it on in the last four minutes of the third, running off four more goals, and six overall, to take the lead. At 3:56 McDavid took a terrific left GLE feed from Stauffer on the right crease area and easily placed it in for 9-7. Just 14 seconds later it was 9-8 as Fallon scored unassisted after picking up a loose ball on the left side of the cage. Then they turned the tables on FIU with 2 last minute goals of their own. At :41 John Davis converted on a spin move from the left wing, firing it in right-handed and at :16 Stauffer finished off a three-pass fast break, taking Fallon’s pass on the left crease and putting FAU up 10-9 after three.
FIU tied the game up at 10:03 of the fourth as Sam Garrett found Quisenberry-Diaz cutting out from right GLE and he went top right corner to tie it, and drew a penalty on the play. But after killing the EMO FAU scored the game-winner as Fallon cut in from the right wing and shot left-handed to take the lead for good. The two teams traded possessions but FAU was able to hold on for the come-from-behind win.
A great way to spend a nice spring day!
Face-offs: FAU 14 – FIU 8
Shots: FAU 54 – FIU 36
Shots on Goal: FAU 27 – FIU 24
Turnovers: FAU 13 – FIU 16
Penalties: FAU 2 – FIU 9
Saves: FAU 14 – FIU 16
Keith McDavid 2G/1A
Tobin Stauffer and Kevin Fallon 3G/1A each
Ray Williams, Tim Newcomb and John Davis 1G each
Chase Lansing 1A
Stephan Fernandez, Mikey Rodriguez and Erik Quisenberry-Diaz#7 3G each
Thomas Klosowski 1G/1A
Sam Garrett and Jay Snyder 1A each
Thanks to the Coaching staffs of both teams for the invite and talking to me and good luck to each school in continuing their programs and this rivalry!