RPI drops two straight, falls out of rankings

FRESHMAN AARON SHAVEL WAITS to pass the ball in a recent home match. Shavel scored a goal and assisted on two others in RPI’s 10-8 loss to Oneonta State.

The men’s lacrosse team was dealt two tough defeats this past weekend, knocking it out of the national rankings. The Engineers fell to Oneonta State on Friday in a 10-8 decision, and then was dealt a 10-4 loss by Clarkson University on Saturday. With the two losses, Rensselaer drops to 7-2 overall, including a 1-1 record in the Liberty League.

Despite a team-high three goals from junior Eric Valero in Friday’s match against the Oneonta Red Dragons, it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit set by the homestanding team.

The first quarter saw both RPI and Oneonta score a pair of goals, including one each from seniors Andrew Liptak and Scott Stolzenberg. However, the Red Dragons responded with four-straight goals in the second quarter to take at 6-2 lead. Valero scored his first of three on the afternoon with 20 seconds left before halftime to pull RPI to 6-3.

The second half saw both teams exchange goals throughout the two quarters, but Rensselaer was never able to make up the large deficit set in the first part of the match. Senior Andrew Miller, freshman Aaron Shavel, and Valero all scored in the third quarter, while the Red Dragons added two more to the scoresheet. Although Valero and Liptak netted back-to-back tallies within four minutes of each other in the final quarter, it wasn’t enough to overcome the two-goal deficit set by Oneonta.

Junior goaltender James Manchester made 13 saves in RPI’s first loss of the season, while senior Oneonta State netminder Chris Miles had nine stops in the 10-8 victory.

The next afternoon fared no better for Rensselaer as the Clarkson Golden Knights took a commanding 10-4 victory over the Engineers.

Clarkson completely shut out RPI in the first half, and limited the Engineers to only four goals in the second. The Golden Knights saw goals from five different players as they jumped to a 5-0 lead after the first 30 minutes of play.

Despite another Clarkson goal to open the second half, junior Brett Overend and Wes Rudy tallied back-to-back goals to cut the deficit down to 6-2. While the Golden Knights hit the back of the net again, junior Mike Sarson and Liptak each scored to pull Rensselaer within three goals. However, the home team scored three unanswered tallies to close out the match, 10-4.

Manchester, who did not make any saves through the first 8:42 of play, was replaced by sophomore netminder Alex Castronovo, who made 20 stops in 51:18 of relief. Junior goalkeeper Ryan Cole made nine saves for the Golden Knights.

Rensselaer will look to redeem itself as it plays two matches this week. The first takes place today at Skidmore College against the Thoroughbreds at 4 pm. The Engineers then play host to the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers on Saturday at noon at the East Campus Stadium.