Union men’s lacrosse drops championship game rematch against RIT

Union's Clint Gourdeau has the ball knocked away by RIT's Joe Camp at Frank Bailey Field Saturday, April 8, 2023.

Union's Clint Gourdeau has the ball knocked away by RIT's Joe Camp at Frank Bailey Field Saturday, April 8, 2023.

SCHENECTADY – After the RIT men’s lacrosse team went on a run, scoring seven consecutive goals between the first and second quarters, taking the lead against Union College, the Dutchmen were experiencing some déjà vu from the end of last season.

On Saturday afternoon, the Tigers traveled to Frank Bailey Field for a rematch of the 2022 Division III national championship game, and it was nearly the same result.

Once RIT built up its lead after going on the seven-goal run, the Tigers never relinquished, defeating Union 13-10.

“They’re a really talented team offensively and they’re going to go on runs,” said Union coach Derek Witheford. “So, it’s our job defensively to try and weather those as best we can. I’m really proud of the way we battled today.”

Last season Union met Liberty League foe RIT in the national championship, where the Dutchmen fell 12-10. In that game the Tigers used a run of eight consecutive goals between the second and fourth quarters to take control.

“They’re back-to-back national champions,” Witheford said, continuing about his team’s effort on Saturday. “Could we clean some things up, yes, but we just didn’t play up to our ability at certain points.”

While RIT got on the board first, Union’s Archie McEvoy scored twice and Hazen Pike tacked on another goal to provide the Dutchmen with an early 3-1 lead.

That’s when RIT went on its run of seven straight.

“It’s a game of runs and they went on a big one,” Witheford said. “I think that was the difference in the game.”

RIT led by as many as five goals in the game, and while Union was able to cut its deficit to three goals on four occasions, the Dutchmen weren’t able to get any closer.

Sean Traynor, Clifford Gaston, Kaden Brunson and Zeb Hollinger all scored two goals apiece for RIT. John Mozrall tacked on one goal and two assists.

Zack Davis led Union’s offensive effort, accumulating three goals and an assist. Jake Mabardy contributed two goals and two assists, while Peter Kip added a goal and three assists. Archie McEvoy tacked on two goals and an assist.

“We’re battling some injuries right now, so we had some really key players like Archie McEvoy step up,” Witheford said. “They played really hard, kept it close and it was winnable at the end.”

Will Sterrett had 15 saves for Rochester, while Dan Donahue also had 15 saves for Union.

“Our goalie has been fantastic this year. He’s keeping us in games and saving a lot of goals. We really trust him,” Witheford added. “He’s stopping the ones he’s supposed to stop and he’s stopping some that should probably be goals.”

RIT improved its record to 11-1 overall and 3-0 in the Liberty League.

With the loss Union is now 6-4 overall and 1-2 in the Liberty League. The Dutchmen are next scheduled to visit Skidmore on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

“We’re still where we want to be with league play,” Witheford said. “We still have some really tough tasks ahead, but we’re not close to being done yet.”

RIT 5 4 2 2 — 13

Union 3 3 1 3 — 10

RIT scoring: Luke Pilcher 1-1, Sean Traynor 2-0, Kaden Brunson 2-0, TJ Hendricks 1-0, Seth Grottenthaler 1-0, John Mozrall 1-2, Zeb Hollinger 2-0, Clifford Gaston 2-1, Sam Bennett 1-1. Union scoring: Zach Davis 3-1, Jake Mabardy 2-2, Peter Kip 1-3, Justin Greene 1-0, Hazen Pike 1-0, Matthew Paolatto 0-1, Archie McEvoy 2-1. Goalies: RIT, Will Serrett, 15 saves. Union, Dan Donahue, 15 saves.

Categories: -Sports-, College Sports, Union College

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