Rit vs. Nazareth
May 8, 2011
The Game Story:
ROCHESTER, NY -- The No. 2 RIT men's lacrosse team (16-0) needed a big second half comeback to beat Ithaca College (9-8) in the Empire 8 Tournament semfinals on Friday. The Tigers trailed 6-1 at the half, but rallied, outscoring the Bombers 12-3 in the second half to advance to their second straight Empire 8 Championship game. RIT will host Nazareth College in the title game on Sunday, May 8 at 12 p.m.

Jordan MacIntosh (Oakville, ON/Holy Trinity) and Tyler Russell (Livonia, NY/Livonia) led the Tigers comeback with four goals apiece in the second half. Jordan Collins-Hartwig (Buffalo, NY/Clarence) also had a big second half, scoring three goals for the Tigers who come back from their fourth five-goal deficit of the season.

A.J. Tingle (Cary, NC/Green Hope) and Chris Cherami (Olwick, NJ/Seton Hall Prep) each had a pair of assists, while MJ Kiekebelt (Caledon, Ontario/St. Andrews College/Aurora) grabbed seven ground balls, caused three turnovers, and had a goal, and an assist.

Bob Tonnessen (Ridgefield, CT/Ridgefield) improved to 16-0 on the season allowing nine goals and making nine saves. Tonnessen and the Tigers defense tightened in the second half, allowing just three Ithaca goals.

Ryan Lowe had three goals for the Bombers who fall to 9-8 in the season. Devin Weinshank had two goals and an assist and Jake Long added a pair of goals. David Gal took the loss for Ithaca allowing 13 goals and making 11 saves.

Ithaca came out aggressively in the first half, opening up a 2-0 lead after the first quarter, extending that lead to five goals in the second quarter.

The Tigers were held scoreless for the first 28:23 of the game until Kiekebelt scooped up the ground ball off a face-off and scored to cut the Bombers lead to 5-1.

Weinshank scored with 17 seconds remaining in the half to give Ithaca a 6-1 lead after 30 minutes of play.

Senior attack Iric Bressler (Stafford, VA/North Stafford) scored out of half time for RIT to cut the lead back to four goals at 6-2.

Lowe scored off an assist from Brian DiBetta at the 7:25 mark of the third quarter, bumping the Bombers lead back to five goals at 7-2.

RIT closed out the third quarter with one of their patented four-goal runs, pulling to within a goal on an unassisted goal by Collins-Hartwig. He spurred the comeback scoring two of the Tigers four goals in that stretch.

After a Weinshank goal made it 8-6 Ithaca, MacIntosh and Kiekebelt worked the one-two play off the face-off, resulting in a MacIntosh goal to pull the Tigers to within a goal at 8-7.

Lowe answered right back for the Bombers to make it 9-7.

From that point on, RIT dominated play, outscoring Ithaca 6-0 over the final 11:12 of the game. MacIntosh and Russell provided the offensive power for the Tigers, scoring two and three goals respectively in that run.

Russell's goal with 10:38 remaining tied the score at 9-9. MacIntosh gave the Tigers thier first lead of the game with 10:17 to play. Russel and Colling-Hartwig added insurance goals later in the quarter for the Tigers.

Shots were even at 35 apiece. RIT won the ground ball battle 35-27 and were 17-of-25 on face-offs. Senior Doug Hemink (Rochester, NY/Churchville-Chili) won 10-of-17 draws, while MacIntosh was 7-of-8.

The Tigers were a perfect 12-for-12 on clears, while Ithaca was 16-of-19. RIT had 11 turnovers and Ithaca had 12.

RIT and Nazareth will face each other for the second time in as many weeks. The Tigers defeated the Golden Flyers 13-5 back on April 30 to close out the regular season. The winner of Sunday's game earns the automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament. RIT is vying for its third Empire 8 crown and second in a row, while the Golden Flyers play for an unprecedented eighth Empire 8 championship.