ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The nationally second-ranked RIT men's lacrosse team built a 7-0 lead just before the midway point of the second quarter in defeating eighth-ranked Cortland, 15-9, Wednesday night in the NCAA Div. III Quarterfinals. The Red Dragons, who finished tied for fifth nationally, completed the season at 17-3. The Tigers improved to 19-2 and will face Wesleyan in the national semifinals on Sunday.
Junior Devin Phelps (Chittenango) led the Cortland offense with two goals and two assists as he finished with 90 points on the season. Sophomore Joey Panariello (Islip) netted two goals. Junior Thomas McNaney (Marcellus) tallied one goal and two assists, and senior Jimmy Nielsen (Miller Place) and junior Nate Beresovoy (LaFayette) each recorded one goal and one assist. Senior T.J. deLyra (Brightwaters/Bay Shore) and sophomore Dean Riley (Homer) notched one goal apiece, while senior Dave Foster (Farmingville/Sachem East) added an assist.
Junior goalie Joe Scalise made 11 saves and scooped up three ground balls for the Red Dragons. Senior Nick Hart (Cornelius, NC/Hough) won 13 faceoffs and collected a game-high nine ground balls. Sophomore Ethan Parks (Penfield) secured four ground balls, and junior Trevor Pratt (Denver, CO/Colorado Academy) recorded three ground balls.
Brendan MacDonald and Ryan Lee each scored three goals for RIT. Chad Levick totaled two goals and two assists, Kyle Killen and Ben Tackett each registered two goals and one assist and Braden Wallace connected for two goals as well. Eli Salama added a goal, and Cam Isaac contributed two assists.
Goalie Nick Nesbitt turned aside 14 shots for the Tigers. Jimmy Spillane won 12 faceoffs and recorded five ground balls. Salama caused two turnovers, Tackett collected seven ground balls and Lee scooped up four ground balls.
The Tigers opened up a 4-0 lead after the first quarter as MacDonald picked up a pair of his goals. RIT tacked on the first three goals of the second quarter, one each from Lee, Tackett and MacDonald, and the Tigers held what seemed to be a comfortable, 7-0, lead at the 8:15 mark. Cortland, however, answered by closing the half with four straight goals to pull to within 7-4. Phelps recorded a goal and two assists, and Riley, Panariello and McNaney each scored a goal during the run.
The Tigers regained the momentum by outscoring Cortland, 3-1, in the third quarter to take a 10-5 lead into the final 15 minutes of play. Goals by Phelps and Panariello quickly cut Cortland's deficit to 10-7, but RIT netted three of the next four goals to open up a 13-8 lead with 8:54 to play. Nielsen made it a 13-9 game at 7:42, but Killen and Levick closed out the game with goals in the final 3:03 to seal the 15-9 win for the Tigers.
RIT 15, Cortland 9
Team 1-2-3-4 Final
Cortland 0-4-1-4 9
RIT 4-3-3-5 15
Cortland: Devin Phelps 2-2, Joey Panariello 2-0, Thomas McNaney 1-2, Nate Beresovoy 1-1, Jimmy Nielsen 1-1, Dean Riley 1-0, T.J. deLyra 1-0, Dave Foster 0-1
RIT: Brendan MacDonald 3-0, Ryan Lee 3-0, Chad Levick 2-2, Kyle Killen 2-1, Ben Tackett 2-1, Braden Wallace 2-0, Eli Salama 1-0, Cam Isaac 0-2, Alec Sovocool 0-1, Drew Tosaya 0-1, Jay Vakiener 0-1
Cortland: Joe Scalise, 11 saves (15 GA in 60:00)
RIT: Nick Nesbitt, 14 saves (9 GA in 60:00)
Shots: Cortland 47, RIT 37
Ground Balls: RIT 31, Cortland 30
Turnovers: Cortland 15, RIT 14
Caused Turnovers: RIT 7, Cortland 4
Clears: RIT 19-of-23, Cortland 15-of-21
Faceoffs Won: Cortland 14, RIT 14
Penalties: RIT 3-2:00, Cortland 2-2:00
Extra-Man Offense: Cortland 2-3, RIT 0-2
Records after the game: Cortland (Red Dragons) 17-3 (ranked 8th nationally in Div. III), RIT (Tigers) 19-2 (ranked 2nd nationally in Div. III)