JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For a second straight game, the VMI lacrosse battled hard but fell in heartbreaking fashion, this time 13-12 in overtime at Jacksonville University on Saturday. The Dolphins ended the game 1:22 into the extra time at D.B. Milne Field in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference clash.
Last Saturday, VMI fell 12-11 against Siena College in the Keydets’ MAAC opener. This weekend’s game marked the third-straight one goal game for VMI, which beat Wagner College 12-11 in overtime two weeks ago.
Jacksonville’s Ari Waffle capped an outstanding day in overtime, scoring the game-winner, which was his eighth goal of the day. Cameron Mann was credited with both the game-tying and game-winning assists.
Drew Leonard paced VMI's versatile scoring efforts, putting home four goals. Freshman Mike DeBlasio, who was named MAAC Rookie of the Week on Monday, tallied his third consecutive hat trick. Keith Long was the only other multiple goal scorer, netting a pair. Three other Keydets, Bernie Mowbray, Colin Bosse and Russell East, chipped in one goal each.
Three-quarters of VMI’s goals came with an assist. Long finished the day with five points, adding three helpers to his pair of goals. Mowbray and sophomore Mickey Hofmeister had two helpers apiece while Bosse added one.
Waffle led the scoring for the day with eight markers and one assist for nine points. Donovan Lange had two goals while Mann, Conor Igoe and Will Vogt posted one apiece. Mann was the Dolphins’ leading assister with three. Max Gurowski and TJ Kenary had two each. Lange also had one dish.
“We continue to compete very, very well and even dominate some statistical categories, but we are still learning how to finish games and win,” said VMI head man Brian Anken. “I’m very proud of our performance versus a good Jacksonville lacrosse team. We still need to work on learning how to win, but I’m confident that it will come soon.”
Senior face-off specialist Stephen Robarge had an outstanding effort at the X, winning 24 of the game’s 28 draws. His 24 wins mark the second time in three games he has won 20 or more face-offs, collecting 22 wins against Wagner two weeks ago. Robarge was perfect at the X in the second half, going 14-14, including a win in the overtime period.
The 24 wins marks a career high Robarge, besting his last outing against the Dolphins in which he went 23-29 at home last season. Robarge has a knack for facing off against Jacksonville. During the three games in his career against the Dolphins, he has won 58 of his 77 draws (75.3 percent), including 82.5 percent (47-57) in the last two seasons.
Between the pipes, junior Matt Lindemann made his first start of the 2012 season, turning away 10 Dolphin shots, including five in the third quarter.
Opposite Lindemann, Peter DeLuca made 17 saves in the win. He caused one turnover in the game while picking up a team-high five groundballs.
It was an interesting day weather-wise for the game, which featured a 45-minute lightning delay with 1:06 remaining in the third quarter. Both teams took advantage of the break, with VMI scoring three goals in the fourth and Jacksonville tallying four.
The Keydets dominated the groundball game, scooping up 44, including 13 in both the second and third quarters. Robarge set the pace on the afternoon with 11, while his face-off wingman Chris Rossie collected five.
VMI (1-8, 0-2 MAAC) continued to clear the ball at a very high rate, transitioning to offense on 11 of its 12 attempts. The Keydet riding team allowed Jacksonville to clear successfully on 17 of its 22 attempts.
VMI’s man-down unit went a perfect three-for-three on the day, not allowing the Dolphins (4-4, 1-1 MAAC) an extra-man goal. However, VMI failed to convert on its three man up chances.
DeBlasio, who was also named Cascade Rookie of the Week, tallied the first goal of the afternoon, finishing a pass from Mowbray. But the lead was short lived before the Dolphins jumped up 2-0 on Waffle’s first goal of the day, followed 40 seconds later by a snipe from Mann.
But after allowing two goals, VMI put together a five-goal run to gain a commanding 6-2 lead. The five-goal run marks the most consecutive goals VMI has scored since Anken took over for the 2011 season. VMI’s offense was extremely versatile during the run, with five different Keydets, East, DeBlasio, Bosse, Leonard and Long, all scoring once.
The Dolphins answered back on the next two face-offs, scoring twice before the close of the second half. Jacksonville’s goals came just nine seconds apart.
The Keydets scored three of the third quarter’s first four goals, with two coming from Leonard and a third from DeBlasio. Waffle broke up the consecutive goals After DeBlasio’s tally, Jacksonville struck three times in a row as Waffle hit a pair and Lange chipped in the third to round out the period.
VMI hit back-to-back goals to open the fourth quarter. Long struck twice followed by Mowbray just 45 seconds later. After Waffle scored his sixth goal of the day, Leonard tallied VMI’s final goal of the game with 10:35 to play. The Dolphins took advantage of the scoreless drought, running off three straight goals to tie the action at 12-12 forcing overtime.
The Keydets return to Lexington next Saturday when they continue MAAC play, hosting Marist College. Game time is set for 1 p.m. at the Institute’s SprinTurf Field, located directly behind Foster Stadium.