Vmi vs. Bellarmine
February 28, 2009
The Game Story:
LEXINGTON, Va. – Sparked by a 10-goal second half, the Bellarmine Knights defeated the VMI lacrosse team 14-6 Saturday afternoon in a non-conference contest at VMI’s Foster Stadium. The Knights move to 2-1 with the win, while VMI falls to 1-3 with the loss.

Bellarmine was led by junior midfielder Derek Hopcroft, who had four goals and an assist, as 10 different players scored for the visiting team. VMI was paced by three different players who each had a pair of goals.

The two teams played a very evenly contested opening quarter. The Knights got on the board first, as junior Sean Doyle found the back of the net less than two minutes into the contest, but VMI quickly responded. Jacob Weimer scored the first of his two goals, beating Bellarmine keeper Scott Bowles at the 10:54 mark to knot the game at 1.

Hopcroft answered with the first of his quartet of scores, putting Bellarmine up 2-1 off a feed from long-stick midfielder Jon Esposito. That score came at 4:56 of the opening quarter, but once again, the Keydets had the answer. Reigning MAAC Offensive Player of the Week Tim Moran beat Bowles, scoring unassisted at 2:18 to tie the contest at 2 apiece. That would be the score after the first 15 minutes of action, as the teams had nearly identical numbers in every category. VMI had won 3-of-5 faceoffs, each team had a nearly perfect clear percentage and each squad was 1-1 in extra-man opportunities.

Once again, Bellarmine got on the board first in the second period. Ray Finnegan Jr. found the back of the net to give the visitors a 3-2 cushion, and that goal would give the Knights the lead for good. They added another goal moments later, and held VMI to just five shots in the second quarter of action. The Keydets did manage a goal by Weimer, his second of the contest, that cut the deficit to 4-3.

That was the margin at halftime. During the first half of play, Bellarmine had four different players score, and outshot the Keydets 20-13 to boost itself to the halftime advantage.

The Knights took over the game in the third quarter, as the visitors outscored the Keydets 6-1 over those 15 minutes. Bellarmine opened the floodgates with Hopcroft’s second goal, and scored a pair of markers shortly thereafter. Less than five minutes into the third, the Knights had taken a 7-3 lead.

Brett Leonard scored the first of his two second-half goals at the 8:22 mark to try to begin a Keydet rally, but Bellarmine quickly moved to quell that attempt. The Knights notched three-consecutive goals to close out the third, and push their margin to 10-3. In the decisive period, VMI won just 1-of-8 faceoffs, which allowed the Knights to control the tempo and seize control of the game.

The fourth quarter opened with a Moran tally, but Bellarmine closed out the game by scoring four of the last five markers to account for the final margin, 14-6. On the day, the Knights won despite being called for five penalties to VMI’s three. The Keydets were outshot 39-32, and VMI netminder Sean McCoy made 10 saves in the setback.
VMI lacrosse will return to action Tuesday, as the Keydets host the currently top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers at Foster Stadium. Game time is currently scheduled for 3:30 p.m.