The first half of the NCAA 2015 D2 Championship game was really quite entertaining, and when Limestone pulled away in the 4th quarter, it only got better! We saw two contrasting styles of play result in a low-scoring first two quarters of lacrosse, and it was all laid on the line in the second half, making for a superb overall game.
Limestone Wins 2015 D2 Championship 9-6
Le Moyne struck first, and they managed to score three goals by moving the ball quickly along the perimeter, and then beginning a sequence of cuts and replacements that created the space for the 3 Dolphin goals. Limestone was using a zone defense of sorts, and were not pressing out on the Le Moyne offense. The Dolphins were cycling the ball without pressure on the outside and making the Saint defense move and react often, and in rapid succession.
Face offs went both ways, and when Limetone got the ball on O early on, they struggled to put the ball away, even in the face of some good opportunities. Whereas Le Moyne moved the ball wide and stayed wide late into possessions, Limestone started wide and got tight quickly, emulating a box lacrosse offense more than a field lacrosse offense. Le Moyne ran out to meet them on D, and early on, the pressure helped keep Limestone off the board early.
Limestone started to click after Le Moyne notched their third goal of the game, and the Saints offense started to drop the shots that had sailed just wide earlier. The Saints put on a run that was very similar to the Dolphins’ early run in the second quarter to bring the game to a 3-3 tie.
It was interesting to see both teams score some inside goals, as well as some mid-range bouncers. Even though their style of offensive initiation vary, the goals produced were eerily similar. Limestone seemed to get more good chances, but they also took a number of low angle shots, which could have easily turned into transition the other way. After 30 minutes, we had really seen a completely even lacrosse game.
In the third, Le Moyne scored three times, and after the first two, Limestone answered. Le Moyne’s last goal of the quarter put them up 6-5 and it was a great little short pass play in traffic on the crease. Lucky? Maybe, but also awesome. The momentum seemed to be swinging in Le Moyne’s favor by the end of the quarter, when Limestone hadn’t answered.
Fast forward to 8 seconds into the fourth quarter, and the game completely changed. Limestone won a draw back, picked up the ball and launched a laser-like pass 30 yards down the field, and the end result was a pull up goal to tie the game at 6 goals apiece. For the next 5-10 minutes, Limestone really controlled the run of play, got better chances, and won many key ground balls. Two more goals put Limestone up 8-6, but Le Moyne had a couple chances to pull closer.
Limestone added a final goal to go up 9-6 as the play evened out a bit more, and then held on to win in seemingly dominant fashion for the last 4-5 minutes of the game. Le Moyne’s offense slowed later in the game, and Limestone had a fifth gear at the beginning of the 4th quarter that pushed them to yet another national title.