Vmi vs. Siena
March 19, 2005
The Game Story:
LEXINGTON, Va - Freshman attackman Kevin Hill (Rockville Centre, N.Y./South Side) scored unassisted after gathering up a loose ball in front of the goal with just 26 seconds left to play to lift the VMI men’s lacrosse team to a dramatic 10-9 win over Siena College (N.Y.) at Patchin Field earlier this afternoon. The victory, in what was the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opener for both teams, sends the Keydets to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in the conference with their third straight win, while Siena falls to 0-4 overall and 0-1 in the MAAC.

The win occurred under difficult circumstances as VMI was undermanned due to the suspension of four starters due to disciplinary reasons. However, faced with that adversity plus an early deficit in which the Keydets fell behind 5-0 in the first quarter, VMI kept together.

Junior attackman Greg Pellati (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) gave the Saints a 6-1 lead when he scored off an assist from junior attackman Matt Walsh (Northport, N.Y./Northport) with 1:35 left in the first quarter. The Keydets trailed by that five-goal margin after one period but would remain focused on coming back.

“This team found a way to win the last three quarters of the game and pull it out,” VMI coach Doug Bartlett said. “I thought we had more people still to play yet at that point. I told the kids, ‘This is not a sprint, it is a marathon,’ “ Bartlett said. “That is exactly how they played the game.”

VMI started to rally in the second quarter, outscoring the Saints 4-1 in the period. The Keydets scored the period’s first three goals in just over a two minute span to pull within 6-4 with 10:02 left to play in the second. Hill, who led VMI with four goals, scored two of the three goals to start the period with one of them being a man-up goal. Senior attackman Leo McInerney (Syracuse, NY/Marcellus) scored the opening goal of the second period and matched Hill’s output with five points on the day on three goals and two assists. Junior midfielder David Trimble (Oak Hill, Va./Oakton) added a team-high three assists for the Keydets, all coming in the second quarter.

The two teams played relatively equal all day with Siena holding only a slight 35-29 edge in shots. The difference in ground balls was only four and VMI had a 2-1 edge in man-up goals. However a key edge lied in the faceoffs as the Keydets went 19-for-23 in the game including 8-for-9 in the fourth period. That was vital in enabling VMI to turn the tide.

“Our faceoff guys were stallions as they’ve been all year long,” Bartlett said.

Junior midfielder Tony Cavalero (Annandale, Va./Annandale) was 13-for-15 on faceoffs while freshman midfielder Vincent Pierotti (Corning East, NY/Corning East) was 6-for-8.

Siena led 7-5 at the half and the two teams battled to a scoreless draw through the first 9:59 of the third period. The Keydets then made their run, outscoring the Saints 4-0 in the third with all four goals coming in the last 5:01 of the period. McInerney started the run with a man-up goal off an assist from Hill. Nearly two minutes later junior attackman Robert Trimble (Oak Hill, Va./Oakton) scored with senior midfielder Eric Rohrmann (Ridgefield, Conn./Ridgefield) lending the assist for a 7-7 tie. Hill and McInerney then added goals just 14 seconds apart with 1:24 left to play with Collier assisting Hill and Cavalero assisting McInerney as VMI took a 9-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Defense took center stage in the fourth quarter as Keydet junior goalkeeper Dan Frank (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright)

made four of his 10 saves to help keep Siena at bay. Neither team scored until less than three minutes remained in the fourth period.

With 2:55 left and precious time dwindling away, senior midfielder Christopher Padden (Farmingdale, N.Y./Farmingdale) scored unassisted pulling the Saints to within one at 9-8. Siena kept pushing forward on offense and scored the next goal when Padden assisted Walsh on a man-up goal with the game-tying score for a 9-9 tie with only 1:07 left to play.

VMI focused down the stretch with Bartlett setting some strategy with wise use of some timeouts.

That set the stage for the Keydets who spread out on offense and worked the ball around the front of the Siena goal. As time ticked away, Hill found himself in front of the goal at close range with the ball laying on the ground. Hill quickly picked it up and got off a shot that found the back of the cage for the game-winner.

Siena was led by Walsh and Padden who had three points apiece with Walsh scoring once with two assists and Padden scoring twice with one assist. Pellati and sophomore midfielder Ted Moran (Huntington, N.Y./St. Anthony’s) each scored two goals and had two assists for the Saints.

VMI resumes play on Saturday, March 26 when they host Providence College at noon in MAAC play.