Quinnipiac vs. Bellarmine
April 26, 2008
The Game Story:
HAMDEN, Conn. – Freshman Jack Oppenheimer (Conoshocken, Pa.) scored his second goal of the game with 1:08 remaining in the fourth quarter as the Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse team came from behind to defeat Bellarmine, 6-5, on Senior Day, Saturday afternoon at the Quinnipiac Field Hockey & Lacrosse Turf Field. With the win, the Bobcats (8-4, 2-3 GWLL) clinch the fourth, and final, position in the Great Western Lacrosse League Tournament, to be held May 2-4, in Detroit. The Knights fall to 7-7 (0-5 GWLL).

Kevin Benzing’s (Severna Park, Md.) 15 saves were all necessary in the Bobcats’ one-goal winning effort. In addition to Oppenheimer’s two goals, Ted Dimond (Marblehead, Mass.) added a pair of his own. Todd Kaiser (Summit, N.J.) added a goal and an assist while Zach Dendas (Branford, Conn.) scored once. Gary Messina (West Islip, N.Y.) added two assists to bump his team-leading total to 15. Anthony Poerio (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) also chipped in with an assist.

Adam Gardner and Shane Andersen scored twice each for Bellarmine. Mathew Holland also added a goal for the Knights, while Jamie Floris contributed an assist. Bellarmine net-minder Sean Bowles stopped five Bobcat shots in defeat.

Andersen got the Knights on the board first with a goal less than four minutes into the first quarter. Less than three minutes later, Quinnipiac tied the game on Dimond’s first goal of the game off Kaiser’s assist.

The Bobcats took their first lead of the game as Oppenheimer took a Messina pass and beat Bowles. The lead was short-lived, however, as Holland scored with 25 seconds to go in the first.

Quinnipiac retook the lead as Kaiser knocked the ball away from Bowles behind the net during a clear attempt. Kaiser gained possession and deposited the ball into the empty net to give the Bobcats a 3-2 lead.

The score remained 3-2 for the next 18 minutes of play, before Dimond scored his second goal of the game off a Poerio assist. Andersen’s second goal of the game cut the deficit in half with just under three minutes left in the third quarter.

Gardner then took over for the Knights. He scored his first goal with 8:41 left in the fourth quarter, as the Bobcats drew a delayed penalty. He added his second on the ensuing man-up opportunity off a Floris assist.

Quinnipiac returned the favor as Zach Dendas unleashed a shot from 20 yards out that beat Bowles on the man-up. Oppenheimer then put away the game-winner off an assist from Messina, just under 30 seconds into another man-up chance.

The Bobcats now await the No. 1 seed in the GWLL Tournament. Possible opponents include Ohio State, Notre Dame and Denver. All three have clinched positions in the tournament and will be seeded in the top three.

Denver (3-1 GWLL) faces Air Force at 3 p.m. Saturday, while Ohio State (4-0 GWLL) and Notre Dame (3-1 GWLL) square off in South Bend, Ind., Sunday at noon. If the Buckeyes win, they’ll be the Bobcats’ first-round opponent. Should the Irish defeat Ohio State and the Pioneers earn a win at Air Force, a three-way tie would result. Goals against within head-to-head play against the other two teams involved would break the tie.

The Irish would have the inside track in such a scenario, having allowed just nine goals in defeat against Denver, while the Buckeyes currently stand at 13 goals against in their 20-13 win against the Pioneers. Denver is on the outside, looking in, at 28 goals against in games against Notre Dame and Ohio State.

At 1-3 prior to its tilt against Denver, Air Force could tie the Bobcats for fourth place. However, the Bobcats own the head-to-head tie-breaker, having defeated the Falcons, 11-10, in overtime, April 13, at USAFA, Colo.