VMI lax falls to Manhattan

The VMI lacrosse team was defeated 16-10 by the Manhattan Jaspers Saturday, March 26 at VMI’s Foster Stadium in MAAC conference action.

The Keydets trailed 6-5 at the half, but were outscored 8-3 in the third quarter of action in the defeat. VMI trailed 11-9 with nearly 20 minutes left in the contest, but were unable to overcome the third quarter deficit. Junior Drew Leonard led the Keydet scoring attack for the fourth-straight contest with four scores for the Keydets, while classmate Tyler Griffith also chipped in a pair of scores. The Jaspers were led by three goals from Brian McGrath and Brendan Rogers in the victorious effort.

VMI (2-7, 0-2 MAAC) trailed 1-0 with 1:45 left in the first quarter before Leonard secured his first score of the contest to tie the game at 1-1. Manhattan (2-8, 1-0 MAAC) would retake the momentary 2-1 lead on a Marcel Godino goal, but Leonard’s second score of the contest, this time of a man-up variety, brought the score to 2-2 with 13:34 left in the second frame.

The Keydets went on to build a 6-5 lead heading into the half on a pair of Griffith goals, and scores from freshman Mickey Hofmeister and junior Keith Long. Conversely, the Jaspers had goals from Tyler Jarvis, Brendan Rogers, and a man-up score from Brett Madarasz with five ticks left in the first half to send the score into the halftime intermission.

At the half, Manhattan held a distinct 25-17 advantage in shots, and forced 16 Keydet turnovers. VMI led the ground ball battle 24-13, and won 11-of-14 faceoffs. Junior goalkeeper Kelly McMinn had eight saves in a half of action.

The second half began with the Jaspers scoring five unanswered goals to erase the Keydet advantage and give Manhattan at 10-6 lead with 9:23 left in the third quarter. Leonard’s third score of the contest came on an assist from junior Colin Bosse at the 9:01 mark to put a halt to the Manhattan run, and bring the score to 10-7.

Leonard’s second man-up goal of the contest at the 5:48 mark off a ground ball pickup and feed from senior Bobby Davis. The score brought Keydets back within striking distance at 11-9, but a 5-1 Jasper run to close out the contest, including a pair of man-up goals, brought the score to 16-9 in favor of Manhattan.

VMI’s final score of the game came with 34 seconds left, as Hofmeister found classmate Stephen States. States beat Manhattan goalie Rich Akapnitis top shelf for the first goal of his collegiate career to carry the score to the final count of 16-10.

Manhattan outshot the Keydets 54-32 on the contest, and forced 28 VMI turnovers. The Keydets, one of the top ground ball teams in the country, had 48 to Manhattan’s 31. Junior Stephen Robarge was dominant the faceoff X, going 22-of-30 in his chances and had a game-high 17 ground balls.

Junior goalie Kelly McMinn had a career-high 19 stops in the contest, as well as seven ground balls in the defeat, while Akapnitis stopped nine shots in the victorious effort.

Along with McGrath and Rogers, Justin Jensen, Mike Llewellyn, and Brett Miranda added a pair of scores for the Jaspers, while three other Jaspers had a score apiece.

Leonard’s four scores give him a team-leading 20 on the season, and 14 in the last four games for the Keydets, while Robarge’s 17 ground balls marks the fourth time this season he has had at least 10 pickups in a contest.

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