(1) RIT lacrosse beats (2) York, heads for NCAA Semifinals
ROCHESTER, NY – The No. 1 RIT (21-0) men's lacrosse team advanced to the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship Semifinals with a 12-7 win over No. 2 York College (19-3) in the quarterfinals Wednesday evening from RIT's Turf Field. RIT tied a team record for wins in a season and will play Wesleyan University on Sunday, May 20 on the campus of RIT in the semifinals at a time to be determined.
RIT jumped out to a 6-0 lead after the first quarter, scored once in the second, twice in the third quarter and tallied three goals in the fourth quarter to advance to the semifinals for the sixth time in eight seasons and 10th time overall.
"We came out strong in the first quarter and needed to," said RIT Head Coach Jake Coon, "It was important that we got off to a good start, and we did. We showed great composure and resiliency against a very good York team."
Shots were 43-21 in favor of RIT who held a 31-15 ground ball advantage. The Tigers were 15-of-16 on clears and won 16-of-22 face-offs.
Kyle Killen (Peterborough, Ontario/Crestwood Secondary) led RIT with five goals and six points. He now has 81 goals on the season and is three points shy of the century mark. Aidan Milburn (Vancouver, British Columbia/Sentinel Secondary) tallied two second half goals and an assist, while Quinn Commandant (Rockwood, Ontario/The Kiski School), Ryan Tandy (Montrose, NY/Hendrick-Hudson) and Jay Vakiener (Fairport, NY/Fairport) each tallied a goal and an assist. Nate Farrell (Whitesboro, NY/Whitesboro) won 16-of-22 draws and had six ground balls. Ben Tackett (Butler, PA/The Kiski School) scooped up five ground balls, caused two turnovers and scored a goal. Walker Hare (Libertyville, IL/Libertyville) improved to 21-0 on the season, making 11 saves, including four key stops in the first quarter.
Dillon Hannah led York with two goals, while Jake Hvazda had a goal and two assists for the Spartans. Landry Marshall took the loss in net despite making 17 saves.
RIT, which has a habit of fast starts, jumping out to a 6-0 lead, scoring six unanswered goals. Killen scored two in the quarter, while Vakiener, Tackett, Shawn Nally (Rochester, NY/McQuaid) and Tandy each scored. Killen's goal with nine seconds remaining in the quarter gave the Tigers the six-goal edge. Hare came up big in net, making four big saves, including three from point-blank range. RIT has now out-scored opponents, 117-24 in the opening quarter this season.
Killen opened the second quarter with his third goal of the evening, giving RIT a 7-0 lead at the 9:51 mark. From there, Marshall made several key saves, allowing the Spartans to get back into the game. York got on the board with 8:17 remaining in the first half on Hvazda's goal that cut the RIT lead to 7-1. Hunter Davis scored with 24 seconds to play in the quarter to cut RIT's lead to 7-2 at halftime.
The Spartans began the second half with a goal, as Gunnar Reynolds made it three straight for York, cutting RIT's lead to 7-3 on his goal at the 11:43 mark of the quarter. Landry kept York in the game, making six saves in the third quarter. Milburn scored a nice goal off an assist from Commandant with 7:09 remaining in the quarter to increase the RIT lead to 8-3. Commandant took a sweet pass from Vakiener and buried his shot, giving the Tigers a 9-3 lead.
The Spartans came back, scoring the final two goals of the third quarter, cutting the RIT lead to 9-5 on Dillon Hannah's goal with 1:29 remaining. Matt Whitcher made it three straight goals for York with his goal to open the scoring in the fourth quarter that cut RIT's lead to 9-6.
Goals from Milburn and Killen midway through the quarter gave the Tigers a little breathing room. Killen's goal with 7:59 remaining gave the Tigers an 11-6 lead. Hannah tallied his second of the game at the 6:11 mark to make it 11-7, but Killen put the game away with his fifth goal of the contest off an assist from Milburn in the final moments to make it a 12-7 final.
York's defense, which came into tonight, allowing just 6.57 goals per game, held the Tigers to six goals under their season average, but RIT's defense stepped up, holding York to just 21 shots and seven goals, eight under their season average, heading into the contest.
RIT is now 27-19 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, 21-8 since Coon took over as head coach in 2010. The Tigers have now scored 373 goals in 21 games this season. The 21-game winning streak matches the longest in program history, set in 2015.
Sunday's semifinal versus Wesleyan is a rematch of the 2017 national semifinal in which RIT won, 22-9.