For Immediate Release
May 21, 2011
Courtesy of the Adelphi Sports Information Department
Gaffney, S.C. - The No. 5 Adelphi University men's lacrosse team took on the No. 2 Saints of Limestone College this afternoon in Gaffney, South Carolina in the National Semifinals of the Division II Men's Lacrosse Championship. Adelphi outscored Limestone 11-6 in the second half for the 14-11 victory.
For the Panthers, juniors Joe Vitale and Danny Blau each scored three goals, while classmate Shane Wynn scored two goals and added an assist. Junior Eric Janssen had a tremendous day in net for Adelphi, setting aside 15 shots and adding an assist in the victory.
Fourth-year Head Coach Gordon Purdie had this to say on the team's return to the NCAA Championship: "It's been ten years. There has been a little bit of pressure from the alumni to get it (the program) were it needs to be. To play at the next level is exciting. As a graduate I wanted to get things done they haven't been here before. I wanted to catch the title that I didn't have in the 80's."
Limestone struck first, with 7:16 left in the first period, on an unassisted goal from Desi Gonzalez. Blau answered right back with an unassisted score, 44 seconds after Gonzalez's tally, tying the score at one. With just under three minutes left in the period and Limestone on a man-advantage, Jackson Decker found a cutting Thomas Langan for the score. Vitale would even the score at 2-2 with an unassisted score, just under 1:30 remaining.
Langan would open the second period with his second score of the game as he beat his defender in isolation for the goal. Adelphi would once again answer right back as Wynn beat his man on the left side to tie the game at 3-3.
After Wynn's goal, Saints' defenseman Brian Hogan took the clear at midfield and took it all the way down for the score and a one-goal Limestone lead. With just over a minute left in the half, Jeff Santo set up teammate Ken Kerr in front of the cage for a 5-3 advantage in favor of the Saints.
At the half, Limestone held a 17-14 edge in shots and a 17-12 advantage in ground balls.
Less than two minutes into the second half, Langan found the back of the net for the third time pushing the Saints' lead to 6-3.
Vitale would then cut the Limestone lead to 6-4 with an unassisted goal, his second of the day. Vitale continued to keep the Panthers in it as he beat his man from the midfield line and netted his third of the game. The Panthers, on a man-up, evened the score at 6-6 when Wynn found sophomore Michael Rossi who was all alone in front of the net.
Sophomore Kevin Kennedy would give Adelphi their first lead of the game as he beat his defender down the left side for the unassisted goal.
Adelphi would add to their lead as junior Kieran Riegel scored his first of the game with 6:50 left in the third period, making the score 8-6. Adelphi would take a two-goal lead into the final period as they outscored Limestone 5-1 in the third period.
Wynn opened the final period with an unassisted score, his second of the game, giving Adelphi a 9-6 lead with 13:26 left in regulation.
Shayne Jackson would break the scoreless streak for the Saints as he came from behind the net for an unassisted goal with 11:26 left on the clock. Nine seconds after Jackson's goal, Gonzalez took the ground ball off the face-off and went straight down the field for his second of the game.
The Panthers responded right back as freshman Ken Fundus drove down the right side of the field and found Blau for a two-goal Adelphi edge.
With 9:41 left in the contest, Riegel would push Adelphi's lead back to three goals, 9-6, with his second unassisted goal of the afternoon. Limestone would inch closer on a man-up goal from Langan, his fourth of the day, with just over seven minutes remaining. Blau would make the score 12-9 as he beat his defender from behind the cage, his third goal of the game.
Shortly after Blau's goal, junior Doug Quednau gave Adelphi their biggest lead of the game 13-9, with just over three minutes left. Limestone cut Adelphi's lead to three, 13-10, as Langan found Decker for the score with just under 2:30 on the clock. After a save from Janssen on a Langan shot, Santo picked up the ground ball and scored, cutting Adelphi's lead in half.
Janssen would then send a clearing pass down the field to Rossi who beat Limestone keeper Steve Gartelman for his second goal of the game with under one minute left, giving Adelphi the victory.
Coach Purdie on the second half Panther comeback: "I think that we started to relax a little bit. I think we doubled their turnover rate throughout the game. To breakout in the third, starting with the ball it gave us a little momentum that carried through the rest of the way.
Purdie on the team's defensive success: "I think that our defense has sold out into the game plan that we had and that was to pressure push out, double, overload. I think that pressure caused them to rush a little bit. I think that with Erik being in the cage, they realized that they needed to hold on a little longer. There were two or three times when they had great shots and didn't take them because they were trying to get a little closer for a better shot."
For the Saints, Langan scored a game-high five goals, while Gonzalez netted two. Gartelman stopped seven shots in the loss.
The Panthers will now take on No. 3 Mercyhurst College in the National Championship on Sunday, May 29 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland at 4:00 p.m.
This marks Adelphi's first time in the title game since 2001 where they won the program's seventh championship.