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Men’s Lacrosse: Bellarmine takes control late, defeats VMI, 11-9

VMI AthleticsAfter a strong third period attack, the VMI lacrosse team was unable to hold on in an 11-9 loss to Bellarmine in a Southern Conference matchup Saturday at Drill Field No. 2.

With the game tied at 9-9 with under five minutes to play, the Knights scored two late goals in the final moments to earn the road victory over the Keydets.

The Keydets (1-7, 0-4) had seven different goal scorers in the game, with Jon Fant earning a career-high four assists in the game.

“I feel for our guys,” said VMI head coach James Purpura. “There are no moral victories. Our guys competed, we improved our effort from the first time we played Bellarmine. We got down early but battled back to take the lead late in the game. We had the opportunity to close out the game but didn’t. Our young team continues to learn valuable lessons and we need to learn how to win and finish the mission. Credit to Bellarmine. They played staunch defense with their athletic group of poles. On offense, we had too many turnovers and didn’t finish some high percentage opportunities. Our defense played their best game of the year and provided us an opportunity to win. I look forward to getting back to work tomorrow to make corrections, work on the fundamentals and to start preparing for a strong Air Force team next week.”

Bellarmine (3-9, 1-3 SoCon) scored two goals early in the match, before VMI’s Scout Ripley earned his 17th goal of the season off an assist by Fant. A man-up goal by the Knights left the game 3-1 after the first period.

The second period had strong defense on both sides, before a goal by Josh Drake narrowed the deficit. Both teams traded goals with Michael Santos picking up the VMI goal off a pass by Fant. Bellarmine had one last score in the first half to go into halftime with a narrow 5-3 lead.

After some halftime offensive adjustments, the Keydets came out with three unanswered goals by Thomas Williamson, Tim Lindenbaum and Jack Burke to take the lead. The Knights evened the score with under a minute left in the third, but Trejan Cannon scored with one second left to take the lead again 7-6 going into the last period.

The fourth period started with trading possessions until a full length shot by Bellarmine goalie JC Higginbotham found the net to even the score at the 11:27 mark. Both teams traded scores with Lindenbaum and Michael Santos earning a goal. The Knights then tied the game with five minutes left with Higginbotham tallying three crucial saves in the end. Two unanswered goals by Bellarmine finished the game with the 11-9 finish.

Santos and Lindenbaum finished with two goals each to lead the Keydets. The Knights were led by Benny O’Rourk and Patrick Keegan, each with two goals with seven other players each with one goal.

Bellarmine finished ahead in shots 36 to 32 for VMI. Higginbotham finished the game with 14 saves, while VMI keeper Bill Osteen registered nine saves in the loss.

The Keydets will be on the road next week to face Air Force in a Southern Conference matchup set for a 1 p.m. EST start in Colorado Springs.

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augusta free press news