Jacksonville edges VMI men's lax

Despite four goals from juniors Drew Leonard and Tyler Griffith and a season-high 50 shots, the Keydets were defeated 13-12 on by the Jacksonville Dolphins Sunday, April 24 at VMI’s Foster Stadium. The day also honored VMI’s pair of seniors, Bobby Davis and Lowell Patterson, each of whom played their final home game of the Keydet careers.

The Keydets (2-10, 0-5 MAAC) won the ground ball battled between the No. 1 and No. 3 ground ball teams in the country, taking the category by a 50-31 margin. Junior Stephen Robarge was responsible for 15 pickups to tie him for second in program history in ground balls in a game, and was also 23-of-29 on faceoffs in the contest. Griffith’s four goals were a career-high, while Leonard’s four scores mark the fourth time this season he has eclipsed the four score plateau.

Jacksonville (5-8, 3-3 MAAC) got on the board first, as John Linnan gave the Dolphins the 1-0 lead with 11:44 remaining in the first quarter on a pass from David Goldman. Leonard’s first tally of the day came with 10:11 left in the first on a feed from classmate Colin Bosse to knot the score at 1-1.

Following Griffith’s first score of the day, JU jumped out to a 4-2 lead on a David Goldman goal with 3:03 left in the opening quarter. The Keydets were able to close the gap midway through the second, as Leonard found Griffith to knot the contest at 5-5, and a Leonard goal 18 seconds later capped a 3-0 VMI run to give the Keydets the lead for the first time in the contest at 6-5.

A Dan McNulty goal with 15 seconds left in the first half resulted in the Dolphins tying the contest at 8-8 heading into the halftime intermission, which marks the second time this season the score was tied at the half of a game.

In the third, Leonard’s third goal of the contest gave VMI the momentary lead at 9-8, a score that remained until the 9:06 portion of the third. The Dolphins then started a 3-0 run to take an 11-9 lead on a man-up goal by Donovan Lange, and even-strength scores by Owen Green and John Linnan.

The VMI offensive unit did not let up, as a Patterson goal with 3:19 left in the third off a crank-shot for 10-yards out brought the score back to a one goal contest at 11-10.

However, VMI was unable to close the Jacksonville advantage in the fourth quarter of action. A man-up score from Dan McNulty game JU a 12-10 lead with 12:48 left, and the Keydets followed with Leonard’s fourth mark of the contest, a roll dodge in front of the crease, to cut the lead to 12-11 with 8:31 to play. A David Goldman score a minute later was the knockout blow to the Keydet chances, bring the count to 13-11. Griffith scored the final Keydet tally of the day with 5:09 left on an assist from Keith Long.

The Keydets had the ball with 58 seconds left, but were unable to orchestrate a quality shot, resulting in a turnover in the waning seconds of the contest to seal the Jacksonville win.

Sophomore Matt Lindemann played the first half in goal for VMI, making four saves and allowed eight goals. Junior Kelly McMinn relieved Lindemann in the second half, making three saves and allowed five goals in the loss. Jacksonville goalkeeper Peter DeLuca went the distance in goal, making 11 saves to 12 goals allowed.

VMI had a season-high 50 shots on the game to outshoot the Dolphins 50-32, but turned the ball over 27 times to 20 for JU.

The Keydets close out their 2011 campaign Saturday, April 30 against the Siena Saints in Albany, N.Y. Faceoff is slated for 1 p.m.

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