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Late rally falls short as Saxons lose to RIT
4/15/09

ALFRED, NY – Down big early, the Alfred University men’s lacrosse team rallied to within a goal of visiting RIT midway through the final period before dropping a 13-11 decision Wednesday afternoon at Merrill Field.

RIT jumped on the Saxons at the opening face-off, with Adam Lehmann winning the draw, picking up the ground ball, sprinting downfield and firing a shot past AU sophomore goalie Adam Schutz (Geneva, NY/Geneva) with only eight seconds gone. The Tigers would add two more in the next 44 seconds to take a 3-0 lead less than a minute into the game.

Alfred answered with a pair of goals — one by junior attack Mike Russo (Mattydale, NY/Cicero-North-Syracuse) and another by sophomore midfielder Justin Kieffer (Middletown, MD/Middletown) to draw within a goal, but RIT would answer with five straight goals, and six of the next seven, to take a commanding 9-3 lead at the halftime break.

RIT (8-4, 3-2 Empire 8) dominated the first half of play, outshooting AU 30-12 and holding a 23-13 advantage in groundballs.

Alfred stormed back after intermission. After the teams traded goals early in the third, AU tallied four straight over a six-minute period spanning the third and fourth quarters to pull within two, at 10-8. Three of the four scores were man-up, with Russo netting two extra-man goals and freshman attack Paul Eaton (Buffalo, NY/St. Francis) potting the other. RIT’s Tanner King scored unassisted to put RIT back up by three before Eaton and Kieffer scored a minute apart midway through the final frame to make it 11-10. The rally would fall short, however, as Kelso Davis and Iric Bressler scored at the 7:22 and 4:26 marks to push the Tigers’ lead back to three. Kieffer’s third goal of the game, with 41 seconds left, closed out the scoring.

Russo, Eaton and Kieffer each scored three goals to lead Alfred (8-4, 1-4 Empire 8). Sophomore Marc Zoyhofski (Blasdell, NY/Frontier) had two goals and three assists and freshman attack Drew Belica (Orchard Park, NY/Orchard Park) added three assists. Bressler (two assists) and Sean Gillies each had three goals for RIT, while Lehmann won 17 of 19 face-offs and picked up a game-high eight groundballs.

Schutz played 57 minutes in goal for AU, making 19 saves and grabbing seven groundballs. Freshman goalie Steve Bonura (Shoreham, NY/Shoreham-Wading River) made two saves in three minutes of action. Robert Tonnessen went the distance in net for RIT and stopped eight shots.

For the game, RIT outshot Alfred 51-35 and had 50 groundballs to 27 for AU. The Tigers also won 21 of 28 face-offs. Alfred performed well on the power play, converting five of 13 man-up chances while holding RIT to one of four.

Alfred is in action next on Saturday, April 18, at 1 p.m. at St. John Fisher.