Another crazy week of D2/D3 lacrosse is in the books. The weekend slate featured numerous one-goal games including a Top 5 matchup of Liberty League foes in RIT and Union. The NESCAC can’t shy away from the spotlight as Wesleyan defeated Middlebury in a dramatic one-goal game that was decided in the final minute. In D2, Indy and Mercyhurst earned key wins to bolster their resumes while Tampa and Adelphi kept their perfect records intact. There’s a lot to discuss, so let’s dive into the biggest matchup of the weekend.
Coaches Poll: USILA Week 9
D3 Weekend Recap
#3 RIT (14) – #4 Union (13)
Where else would I start? The game of the weekend certainly lived up to the hype. This back and forth contest kept fans on the edge of their seats, but the defending national champions were able to hang on for a one goal victory. Lacrosse is a game of runs, and this contest was no exception. Union jumped out to an early 2-0 lead within the first 5 minutes of play thanks to goals from Peter Kip and Keaton McCann. The Tigers responded with four straight goals from Bruno, Bell, Barnable, and Angus.
RIT took a 9-7 lead into halftime and never trailed in the second half. Union faced a 10-14 deficit in the 4th quarter, and climbed back to 13-14 with five minutes remaining in the fourth, but RIT locked down its defense and avoided the upset. Marley Angus was the difference maker, finishing with 4 goals and 2 assists. Quinn Commandant also added a hat trick and an assist. The Tigers flip-flopped with Union moving onto the podium as the #3 team in the country. RIT hosts Ithaca on Wednesday.
Even though Union entered the season as the #12 team in the preseason IL media-poll, they’ve exceeded expectations and have been one of the biggest surprises in D3. Netminder Dan Donahue has been a monster between the pipes, posting a 61% save percentage over the season. Union will need Donahue at his best as they conclude conference play with games against RPI, Skidmore, Ithaca, and Vassar.
#10 RPI (8) – Clarkson (11)
Staying in the Liberty League, Clarkson pulled off the upset at home against RPI to earn their first ranked win of the season. Sebastian Geiger paced the offense with 3 goals and an assist. It’s hard to beat a team whose goalie and FOGO finish north of 50%. This game was no outlier; Jacob Mattice finished with 13 saves, and Matthew Hansen (14-23, 61%) earned the Golden Knights plenty of extra possessions.
The Liberty League has been a gauntlet; RPI beat RIT, RIT beat Union, and now Union hosts RPI in a pivotal top-20 matchup this weekend. Clarkson awaits their biggest test yet – they’ll travel to RIT on Saturday.
#19 Wesleyan (12) – #16 Middlebury (11)
The NESCAC just doesn’t disappoint, huh? It took the full sixty minutes to decide this battle of Top 20 teams. Wesleyan burst out of the gates and captured an early 4-0 lead. Middlebury rallied back to even the score at 10-10 with 9:17 left in the 4th quarter. Walk-on freshman Will Munroe (11-13 85%) played an essential role in the comeback. It was a valiant effort, but it wasn’t enough. Spencer Robbins scored the game-winner with 32 seconds remaining, and the Cardinals improved to 4-2 in the NESCAC. This conference always has a flare for the dramatic.
The Wesleyan defense did a great job limiting former IL top-100 recruit Billy Curtis. Curtis leads the Panthers in points (40), but was limited to just two points with his lone goal coming in the 4th quarter. Wesleyan travels to in-state-rival Trinity on Wednesday night. Middlebury bounced back with a 15-7 victory of Babson on Sunday, and they finish non-conference play on Wednesday against St. Lawrence.
D2 Weekend Recap
#8 UIndy (14) – Rockhurst (7)
The Greyhounds keep rolling as they improve to 11-1 on the season. Drew Biling paced the offense with 3 goals and 2 helpers, and Ben Foster added three goals of his own. Caleb Parker was the player of the game, finishing a perfect 12-12 at the faceoff X. Indy travels to Maryville this weekend before wrapping up the regular season with top five showdowns against Mercyhurst and Limestone.
#7 Mercyhurst (18) – #19 Seton Hill (16)
Seton Hill gave the Lakers a scare thanks to a seven point night from McGarity Harper. Seton Hill led by as many as four goals early in the second quarter, but Mercyhurst slammed the door, combining for fourteen goals over the middle two quarters. Bryce Johnson contributed an even 3 goals and 3 assists in the comeback win. Ethan Landymore (4g) and Nicholas Mabe (2g 2a) scored four points apiece. Mercyhurst will look to extend their win streak to seven against Roberts Wesleyan on Wednesday.