Men’s lacrosse keeps conference tournament hopes alive with win over VMI
JU needs Canisius to beat Manhattan next week to qualify for MAAC Tournament
LEXINGTON, Va. – The JU men’s lacrosse team kept its conference tournament hopes alive, scoring three straight third-quarter goals to defeat VMI, 13-12, in the final regular season Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference matchup on Sunday at Foster Stadium in Lexington, Va.
JU snapped a three-game losing streak in improving to 5-8 and 3-3 against the MAAC. The Dolphins can still qualify for the four-team conference tournament if Canisius can beat Manhattan on Saturday. Should the Griffins defeat the Jaspers, JU and Canisius would both have 3-3 records with the Dolphins holding the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Dolphins do not hold the tiebreaker over Manhattan, which takes a 2-3 record into the Canisius contest.
JU was out-shot, 50-32, but erased a one-goal deficit with three consecutive third quarter goals from Donovan Lange, Owen Green and John Linnan to help propel the visitors to the come-from-behind win. Freshman goalie Peter DeLuca made 11 saves.
Freshman attacker David Goldman scored two goals and added an assist and Linnan and Lange both tallied two goals and to help the Dolphins improve to 3-4 in road games.
Tyler Griffith and Drew Leonard both scored four goals for the Keydets, but VMI fell to 2-10 and 0-5.
Sophomore midfielder Dan McNulty recorded his first career hat trick in the must-win game, scoring a clutch goal with 15 seconds left in the opening half to tie the score at 8 entering the break. McNulty added a crucial insurance marker with 12:48 left in the game, capitalizing on Cameron Mann’s pass for a man-up goal that lifted the Dolphins to a 12-10.
VMI responded with a scoring strike. JU head coach Matt Kerwick responded with a timeout off the faceoff, helping to set up Goldman’s second goal at 7:31 that re-established the two-goal lead.
Griffith added another twist in a tension-filled game, scoring his fourth goal of Keith Long’s pass to put the Keydets within 13-12. Just eight seconds later, Mann was whistled for a one-minute cross-checking penalty at 4:57.
But the Dolphins killed the penalty, highlighted by DeLuca’s save on Russell East after Bobby Davis’ shot rang off the post. JU clamped down and held VMI without a shot in the final four minutes.
Goldman helped JU race to a 4-2 first quarter lead, scoring once and adding an assist in the opening 15 minutes, handing JU a two-goal edge despite VMI holding a 16-5 edge in shots and winning 6-of-7 faceoffs during the period.
DeLuca helped the Dolphins weather the early storm, making four saves in the first quarter. The 50 shots DeLuca faced was one short of a career high set against Robert Morris on March 9.
Overall, the Dolphins escaped with a win despite have 19 fewer ground balls (50-31). JU did use a high-pressure system that contributed to 27 VMI turnovers.
JU will close out the regular season when it hosts the defending national champion Duke on Saturday at 1 p.m. at D.B. Milne Field.