On Saturday, March 22, RPI men’s lacrosse took on Vassar College at the ECAV Stadium for their Liberty League opener. RPI, with four wins and two losses, is coming off a three game winning streak, and had all of the momentum going into the game. Vassar College came into the game with three wins and two losses. In their last game, they beat Western Connecticut State, impressively, 23-8.
As the game opened, the energy could be felt from both sidelines as both teams prepared to start their Liberty League season with a win. Vassar College midfielder Liam Moriarty, got the better of RPI freshman Ben Piersak, winning the opening face-off. In order to try and produce an early lead, Vassar College midfielder Shane Flattery took advantage of the possession, taking the first shot of the game; it missed high. After a successful clearing attempt from RPI, midfielder Pat Hogan produced the first goal of the game, scoring with 13:27 left in the first quarter. After two RPI shots that could not find the target, freshman attackman Matt Hall found the back of the net with 11:19 remaining in the first quarter. After losing the face-off, RPI got the ball back and scored from the hands of sophomore attackman Patrick Finn, with 10:09 left in the game, to make the score RPI 3, Vassar College 0. RPI, came back and scored again from freshman attackman Breanainn McNeally to make the score RPI 4, Vassar College 0, with 8:59 left in the first quarter. The rest of the quarter remained scoreless. RPI produced seven shots in the remaining time, but none were able to find the back of the net.
RPI started the second quarter strong, winning the opening faceoff, leading to RPI junior attackman Aaron Shavel producing a shot that missed its target. However, RPI freshman attackman Liam Menning picked up the ground ball and scored with 14:00 left in the second quarter to make the score RPI 5, Vassar College 0. RPI held on to the ball for the next three minutes but was not able to produce a goal until Vassar College midfielder Sean Brazier got a cross checking penalty allowing for RPI to take advantage of the man up situation, with junior attackman Scott Crow scoring with 10:51 left in the second quarter. Vassar College, seeing the game slipping away, tried desperately to produce a goal, shooting the ball five times within two minutes; however, senior goalkeeper Alex Castronovo was as solid as a wall, allowing no goals within this two minute period. The string of scoring attempts for Vassar College was put to an end when McNeally scored with 6:31 left in the first half. Vassar College midfielder Scott Brekne was able to take away RPI’s shut out by sneaking one by the solid goal keeping of Castronovo with 4:28 left in the first half. After a turnover from Vassar College defenseman Jesse Hartmanm, RPI freshman midfielder Chaz Bell took advantage of situation, producing a goal with 2:26 left in the first half. The Vassar College coach, seeing the game slipping away, tried to call a strategic timeout after the last goal; however, it went to waste as Finn produced a goal directly following the timeout with 2:19 left in the half, bringing the score to RPI 9, Vassar College 1. For the rest of the half, neither team could produce any goals.
The second half started off slowly, with both teams unable to obtain a long possession until Vassar College attackman Noah Parsons scored with 11:41 left in the third quarter to score Vassar’s second goal. Vassar College maintained possession for the next couple minutes; however, the RPI defense, lead by senior defenseman Thomas Newman, was relentless allowing very little, if any, possibilities for Vassar College to score. After the persistent RPI defense produced a turnover, McNeally showed off his athleticism by scoring with 6:25 left in the second quarter to make the score RPI 10, Vassar College 2. RPI was then able to win the next face-off, and come back and score again from the sure handedness of McNeally with 5:32 left in the third quarter, bringing the score to RPI 11, Vassar College 2. RPI came back and produced a handful of shots that all missed their mark, until RPI’s Finn scored with 2:21 left in the third quarter to give RPI a 10-point cushion. RPI didn’t let off, and with 34 seconds left in the quarter they scored again from sophomore midfielder Billy Gibbs.
As the fourth quarter began, it was evident that Vassar College’s momentum had been depleted from a string of stellar RPI plays. RPI began the fourth quarter with a steady possession, capping it off with a goal from Menning to make the score RPI 14, Vassar College 2. Vassar College showed a spark in emotion, and created a scoring attempt on which Parsons scored with 8:39 left in the game to raise Vassar’s score to three. RPI recovered from this lapse in play, and scored two quick goals from the fleet-footed Shavel to make the score RPI 16, Vassar College 3 with 6:14 left in the game. RPI, realizing the substantial lead they had obtained, decided to back off from scoring for four minutes until freshman attackman Matt Krecicki slipped one by to score the last goal of the game to make the score RPI 17, Vassar College 3.
RPI came out on top in their Liberty League opener. From face offs, to ground balls, to shots on goal, they lead Vassar College in every statistic possible. With their superior athleticism and flashy stick skills, they produced plays that left Vassar College in the dust. After this victorious showing, it is apparent that RPI will be a force to reckon with in the Liberty League.