LEXINGTON, Va. – After playing its first three games on the road, covering nearly 1,500 miles of travel, it would be safe to say that the VMI lacrosse team is ready for its home debut.
The Keydets (0-3) will play host to Saint Joseph’s University (0-2) on Saturday morning. The opening draw at Foster Stadium is slated for 11 a.m. There will be no charge for admission.
Fans attending the game are asked to park in the lot above Foster Stadium. To access this lot, please turn onto Diamond Street, to west of Cameron Hall. From there, please make the first left and follow that road to the lot located behind Foster Stadium.
For those fans unable to attend the game, the VMI athletic communications department will be providing a live statistical link, which can be accessed by visiting VMIKeydets.com and navigating to the lacrosse schedule page or by clicking here.
Fans using the social media service Twitter will also be able to get in-game updates through @VMILacrosse. Those using Facebook can receive halftime and final scores simply by “liking” VMI Lacrosse on Facebook. Prior to the game, links for live stats will be tweeted and posted on Twitter and Facebook, respectively.
Saturday morning’s game will be the first meeting between VMI and Saint Joseph’s since the 2010 season. It will also be the Hawks’ second straight trip to Lexington in the series. All-time, VMI is 3-3 against Saint Joseph’s at home, but the Hawks hold the all-time series at 4-7.
This will be the first time VMI head coach Brian Anken has coached against Saint Joseph’s and will be his first meeting against SJU head man Taylor Wray, who is in his first season. The two head coaches have never met.
The Keydets come into Saturday morning for their second game of the week after taking on defending national champion University of Virginia on Tuesday night. The Keydets fell 19-5, but the first midfield unit of Keith Long, Tyler Griffith and Chris Kitchen continued to produce.
The trio accounted for four of VMI’s goals and one of the assists against the Cavaliers. Long notched his third multi-point game of the season with a pair of goals and an assist. The Keydets’ first midfield line has accounted for nearly two thirds of VMI’s production, combining for 12 of the team’s 20 goals (60.0 percent).
Long sets the offensive pace for VMI, putting away five goals and has five assists for 10 points. His linemate, Kitchen, is responsible for five goals for five points. Kitchen and Long lead the squad in shots, taking 13 apiece.
At the face-off X, senior specialist Stephen Robarge has begun the season just as impressively as he left off in 2011. He is winning at a 64.9 percent clip (48-74), aided by his best performance ever against Virginia, winning 19 of his 26 draws.
The senior captain also leads VMI in groundballs, hovering 25 and averaging 8.3 per game. Chris Rossie, who is one of Robarge’s wingmen on the face-off, has a team second-best 11 groundballs. The other wingman on the draws, Will Baker is third with nine grounders.
Between the pipes, Kelly McMinn has been a venerable wall. The senior Californian has made 49 stops already this season, including a career high 22 against Army last weekend. His three-game save total is the most for a keeper since Cregg Burns made 47 through the first three games of the 1999 season.
Scouting Saint Joseph’s:
The Hawks come to Lexington with an overall record of 0-2, falling in their season opener to Lehigh 11-4. Saint Joseph’s fell in its most recent game 11-07 against Bryant, coached by former VMI head man Mike Pressler.
Ryan McGee leads the offensive charge for the Hawks, putting up seven points on five goals and two helpers. Nipping on his heels is Kyle Williams, who has five points on two goals and three assists. The only other multi-point Hawks are Bobby Hurley and Patrick Townsend, who have one goal and an assist each.
Saint Joseph’s has struggled at the X this season, winning just eight of their 37 draws (21.6 percent). Chris Jenkins has taken a bulk of the face-offs, going six-of-21.
Between the pipes, the Hawks have split time between two keepers. Griffin Ferrigan has played in 60 minutes, making both starts this season. Dustin Keen has backed him once, collecting 45 minutes of action against Bryant. Ferrigan has made 21 saves while Keen has stopped eight.