The Division II Championship has been around for 21 years and they have always been looked upon like the red headed step child of NCAA lacrosse. These second class citizens put on quite a show with tons of goal scoring and some overtime play even though a majority of the 21, 052 left after the DIII final. New York Tech appeared to be on the defensive for about 80 percent of the game, but they managed to trade goals with the Saints all day and pull it out in the end. Both defenses played rather poorly all day with NYIT in particular struggling with their zone defense. The individual defensive play was fine, it was the team defense that was lackadaisical. Nolan Heavenor gave the Saints many opportunities to take control of the game by dominating the faceoffs. The game was exciting due to the score, but the overall play was sloppy at times.
Heavenor won the opening face and took off toward the goal where he was immediately fouled. Heavenor is no FOGO, he stayed out for the man-up and made Tech pay personally. He caught the feed from down low while standing two steps inside the restraining line. After taking two more steps he launched a 12 yard overhand laser along the pipe, 1-0. At the 13:04 mark of the first NYIT’s Tom Zummo was sent to the box and Limestone quickly made it a 2-0 affair. The Bear’s Joe Gabrysiak answered for his squad with a simple lefty sweep. The textbook overhand shot was too much for the Limestone netminder, 2-1.
Heavenor won the ensuing face clean and Limestone started a long offensive stand against Tech’s zone defense. Tech’s zone looked absolutely anemic in the first half. They seemed to tighten things up in the second half, but the slides were coming way late and half speed. The d middies were face guarding and at times it looked like the first time they ever used the zone in a real game. Tech managed to get Patrick Cardiff to put the ball on the ground. That sprung long pole Jared Cullen for a great end to end run. He hit Keith Henderson just to the right of the goal, but Henderson looked away before he had the ball and muffed it. Limestone cleared to set up Robert Woody to work his magic from X. Woody is a horse and he went wherever he wanted all day. Tech just didn’t have anyone big enough to body him. Woody bulled his way out to his left and when he rolled back his dman slipped leaving him one one one with the goalie. He faked low and buried it high, 3-1.
Tech had a chance to come within one when Joe Drodge had his dman caught up in front of the net. The goalie took one side so Droge went that way but hit the inside post. Brad Patridge took a penalty for Limestone at the 4:38 mark to give Tech another golden opportunity. First they fed Paul Montali on the crease for a turn around shot that sailed high. With 4:05 left in the first Zummo got the ball in the high lefty crank spot and bounced one in just underneath the pipe, 3-2. Limestone answered with 1:42 to go in the first. David Wooster burned his man from the top of the box and the slide eventually came from the adjacent defender, but it was too late and he gave a weak slap check. Again, it appeared that the Tech d was unsure of the zone. Wooster had time to throw a couple of fakes before making it 4-2. Zummo answered immediately with 1:27 left in the first. He was the second and higher lefty cut on the crease when he caught the feed from behind. He caught and shot in one motion low and away along the far right pipe, 4-3.
After watching the first quarter one got the feeling that Tech got away with a bad quarter because Limestone looked like they were dominating the play. That theme carried throughout the game, but obviously they were doing some things right.
Tech tied the game early in the second quarter with another Zummo tally, 4-4. Coming through the box Zummo had a step on his man, ran right down the gut and buried a lefty shot on the run. Nobody ever slid to him. With 12:58 left Brad Patridge put Limestone back up 5-4. Cardiff ripped a shot from outside that goalie Anthony Letterel got his stick on, but Patridge scooped up the rebound and dunked it over the downed goalie, 5-4. Tech answered at 11:32 on a great play. Keith Henderson fed Mike Maxwell who was guarded tightly, but the pass was perfect and Maxwell’s quick lefty release beat Marty Ward, 5-5. Tech took the lead on another Gabrysiak goal to go up 6-5. Again, Gabrysiak came right down the heart of the defense and nobody picked him up. Woody answerd for the Saints by beating his man from behind. No slide again, Woody had all day to have his way with the defenseless goalie. Nobody even came close to him after the goal, 6-6. Woody took the lead for the Saints with 7:55 to go in the half with a similar play, 7-6. Don’t get me wrong, there were some great players out there today but at times you had to wonder what was going on with the defenses.
On the next offensive possession for the Saints Woody tried again and why not. This time Senior defenseman Jared Cullen made a sweet over the head check to strip him.
The goal scoring finally slowed down in the third, but it would pick back up in the fourth. Tech tied the game at 7 on a fast break. Gabrisiak fed Henderson on the doorstep. Henderson threw a couple of fakes before wrapping it around Ward’s waist to the far side. The teams continued to trade goals. However, Tech’s zone was markedly tighter in the second half. The slides were coming early now. Give credit for half time adjustments.
Limestone took a 10-9 lead in the fourth quarter on a huge fake shot by Wooster that froze Zummo dead in his tracks. Wooster walked by him like he was a cone and beat Letterel from 7 yards out. Tech called a timeout with 10:18 to go and it paid dividends. Zummo made amends by loosing his man Pete Dalrymple on the crease to catch a Droge feed from the low righty wing. Zummo finished the lefty shot to make it 10-10. Gabrysiak continued the Zummo, Gabrysiak show as he came down field two defenders had a miscue and neither one picked him up. He came through unmolested and ripped a lefty crank for the lead, 11-10.
With under 5 minutes to go Limestones Brad Patridge became the goat. First he got denied on a one on one with the goalie. After the shot he tried to run over the ref out of frustration and seconds later he took a penalty which Tech scored on. Tech hit Montali on the crease again on the man-up, but this time the attackman scored, 12-11. Limestone had a similar chapalmer nce to tie it on a man-up with 4:05 left, but a great individual play by Ed Palmer killed it. He got the ball on the ground and then won the ground ball for the clear. With 3:14 left Zummo came down field in transition and much to our surprise nobody picked him up, 13-11.
Limestone used a ten man ride with 2:20 on the clock and it worked. That set up Cardiff for an iso move from behind. He came around to his right and got away with a possible witholding call. He tied the game at 13-13 while toeing the crease. Limestone got the face and called timeout with 1:25 to go. Limestone killed clock until about 20 seconds to go and got off a series of three shots. The final one was the most exciting. Letterel got a piece of it, but it got behind him and as the buzzer sounded he swept it away.
Limestone wins face, but Cullin picked his man clean of the ball and got possession for tech. Coach Kaley got a brilliant timeout for his squad as his team was about to loose the ball on the offensive side. Tech came out with a five man stack up high with the sixth man working from behind. The feed came to Chris Sepesi, but it tipped off the end of the stick. Limestone got possession, but they were caught for a failure to advance violation which set up the game winner. Gabrysiak had a short stick defender on him in the low lefty wing. Keeping the stick in his left hand, but on his right side he ran underneath his defender along goal line extended. Once he got a step or two he brought the stick out front to his left side and buried the championship winner before the slide came, 14-13.
|David Wooster||(4, 2)|
|Robert Woody||(3, 1)|
|Nolan Heavenor||(1, 2)|
|Patrick Cardiff||(2, 1)|
|Roger Vyse||(2, 0)|
|Brad Patridge||(1, 0)|
|Marty Ward||5 (0.263)|