With all the amazing games that have already been played this weekend the Division II Championship between Limestone and Le Monye had a lot to live up to. This game certainly did not dissapoint. Featuring no lead ever extending more then two goals, four different lead changes, and double overtime periods to determine the National Champion. Le Monye won today and brought their school its very first national championship for ANY sport. Both teams played their hearts out and the game could have easily went either way, but big plays by Brandon Spillett, and one extremely questionable call by the officals late in the game secured the fate of our champion Dolphins of Le Monye.
The first quarter featured each team scoring only once, both by man-up opportunites. Limestone struck first off a man-up play that went from a 3-3 to a 1-4-1. Nolan Heavenor played the top position and passed the ball down to David Wooster. Wooster took a solid look at feeding the ball straight to "X" made the defense drop way in and then quickly fed back to Heavenor who was all alone for a ten yard shot, which he stuck in the upper corner. Le Moyne's man-up play was the complete opposite of Limestone's. They started out of a 1-4-1, and rolled into a 3-3. Matt Holdridge found a skipping lane and zipped the ball to Brandon Spillett who made one fake and shot the ball into the net. The first quarter was pretty slow, with each team having equal opportunities to score, but missing their mark.
If you asked me at the 9:00 minute mark of the second quarter if I was enjoying this I would have easily said no. It was middle of the second quarter the game was still stuck at one apiece and there was no action what so ever. But all of that was about to change. At the 8:37 mark Rob Trowbridge got a solid ground ball, pushed the ball up field into a 4 on 4 situation, dogded in transition and made a pretty lefty on the run shot for a goal. Immdeiately following that play Limestone won the face-off made a pass to Roger Vyse who fired home the equalizer. At the 6:41 mark Le Monye took the lead again of a pretty inside roll by Kyle Reichel. Both teams traded another goal each before the half was over, and at the end of the second quarter the score was 4-3 in favor of Le Monye. However there were some really wierd themes starting to develop. Both teams were inverting, and trying to generate offense through "X" but both defenses were allowing the dodgers to get top side on them, and when the defender did make him man turn there would be no slide coming. I sat in my seat at half time searching for a logical reason for why this type of play was occurring on both sides of the ball but I couldn't find one.
The third quarter featured the most scoring out of all the quarters, and we really started to see the intensity of both teams play really picking up. Brandon Spillet got the scoring started off as his teammate drew a slide dumped him the ball and let him ripp a ten yard cannon past freshman goalkeeper Charlie Gray. But Limestone fired right back at the 13:21 mark, as David Wooster dodged from behind got pushed from behind into the crease but not before he stuck the ball between the leggs of Jared Corcoran. At he 7:58 mark there was a loose ball scramble at the midfield line Brandon Spillet ended up fighting for the groundball got it and fed it to Cory Sullivan who was all by himself with a one on one break away ten yards away from the net. Made one fake low and stuck the ball upstairs for the goal. It was definately one of those situations that most lacrosse players dream to be in but seldomly does the situation ever happen. At the 4:00 minute mark Limestone goalie Charlie Gray made an amazing save off a 8-yard shot that was coming high and hard off-stick side. But only moments later Jared Corcoran of Le Monye made an amazing kick save as well. The game got all knotted up at 6, at the 2:19 mark when Roger Vyse made a slit dodge directly to a roll and shot a low to high stinger. At 1:09 Jason Randolph gave the lead back to Limestone, he dodged from "X", inside rolled, and here's a shocker, there was not slide, so he had a easy one on one with the goalie and scored. But 14 seconds later Brandon Spillett scored right off the face-off again. The third quarter ended and it was a 7-7 tie, and dramatic finish was definately on the horizon.
The rest of the game was dominated by Brandon Spillett, it was definatly one of the best championship game performances that I have ever seen, and here is what happened in the final legg of this amazing game. At around the 13:30 mark Brandon Spillet rode the goalie hard, got the ball to the ground scooped up the groundball and fired it into the open net, 8-7 Le Monye. A minute later Roger Vyse took ball from "X" to the goal line looking like he was going to feed, but instead snuck right in and fired a shot low and away, game tied 8-8. At the 10:20 mark Limestone caught a man-up goal from Patrick Cardiff on a really nice outside shot, and with that Limestone got the lead back, 8-9. The tempo of the game was really getting pushed, every groundball was a war, you could just tell that both of these greats teams wanted to win so badly. At 7:55 Brandon Spillett scores his 5th goal of the day. He drove hard up field from "X", snuck under and took a shot from a ridiculous angle, but still managed to sneak it in, 9-9. From there the next 6 minutes were owned by Limestone. They possessed the ball for 5 straight minutes at one point. They were very patient, and it paid off at the 1:11 mark when Jason Randolf caught a missed shot, the goalie went to chase the shot out of bounds but did not see that Randolf caught until he was scoring off a wrap around diving shot,9-10 Limestone. Now here is where things start to get very sticky. Let me paint you the picture so you can form your own opinions. You are in the National Championship game, your team just scored a sick goal to take the lead with little over a minute left to play! I think anyone in that situation is entitled to celebrate. Unfortunately myself and today's officals do not see eye to eye because Chris Barrett got called for excessive celebration only because he was pumping his fist! Who cares he is excited, it isn't like the bench cleared out and there was a "pile-on" on the field, but what is done is done. Le Monye had a man-up chance, but with 10 seconds left the score was still 9-10 in favor of Limestone. Off a time out Le Moyne's Brandon Spillett starts with the ball, he drives hard up to goal line, 6 seconds left, rolls inside, 4 seconds left, shoots near side high for a goal, 2 seonds left, and Spillett ends regualtion with 6 goals and 1 assist, and for some reason Limestone does not want to slide to their opponents hottest player.
In the first overtime Le Moyne won the first face-off and got a quick time out. They weren't able to score, and Limestone got the ball back took a time out but they weren't able produce either, and the first overtime period ended with no winner. The second overtime found LeMoyne winning the face-off again, but this time they capitolized, and guess who scored the Championship winner? Brandon Spillett. Same exact way as he scored to tie the game, no slide, I don't know how I can stress how frustrating it was to watch, but he dodged from behind the goal got underneath his man and took it right in for the winner.
This was an amazing game and both teams should be commended for going 15-0 in Division II play all the way up to this game. Congrats to Le Moyne for bringing their school its very first National Championship in any sport.
Limestone vs. Le Moyne