No. 19 RPI Holds off Skidmore for One-Goal Win

TROY, N.Y. Behind three second half goals from freshman Eric Valero, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men's lacrosse team rallied from a four-goal first half deficit and held on late to defeat Skidmore College, 10-9, in Liberty League action at East Campus Stadium. With the victory, the #19 Engineers move to 2-0 in conference play and are now 7-1 overall. The Thoroughbreds fall to 4-3 on the season and are 0-1 in Liberty League action.

Trailing 7-3 to open the second half, Valero (Princeton Jct., NJ/W. Windsor Plainsboro) pulled Rensselaer to within three (7-4) at 10:34 of the third period. Junior Nick Billy (Redding, CT/Joel Barlow), who assisted on Valero's first tally, recorded one of his own at the 5:01 mark to close the gap to 7-5 heading into the final quarter.

Rensselaer continued to pressure in the offensive zone through the final 15 minutes, rallying off five straight goals, including a pair from Valero just 41 seconds apart to make it a 10-7 advantage. Senior Devin Arnold (Buffalo, NY/Canisius) got things going at the 11:07 mark, followed by Valero's tallies, which gave RPI its first lead since 12:01 of the second quarter.

Billy and Arnold closed out the scoring for the Engineers, but the Thoroughbreds answered late in the game as senior Rob Lutin (Port Washington, NY/Schreiber) got a shot past RPI netminder James Manchester (Niskayuna, NY/Niskayuna) with just 58 seconds remaining.

Skidmore continued to press as senior Cory Barkoff (Woodbury, NY/Syosset) cut the deficit to one (10-9) at the 42 second mark with his sixth tally of the contest, but the Engineers defense capitalized on a Thoroughbred turnover with and held on in the offensive zone for the win.

It was the visitors who took control in the opening half as Skidmore matched the homestanding Engineers goal for goal to open the game. Barkoff tied things at 1-1 at 3:46 of the first quarter and scored another equalizer at 11:17 of the second stanza to make it 3-all giving the Thoroughbreds momentum as they scored five straight goals for the 7-3 lead at the half.

Led by Valero's three goals, Rensselaer also saw Billy score a pair of goals and add two assists. Senior Paul Cerone (Ridgefield, CT/Ridgefield) had three assists, while Arnold added two goals. In goal, Manchester earned his seventh win of the season, stopping 12 shots.

For Skidmore, Barkoff had a game-best six tallies. Lutin and juniors Matt Levesque (Duxbury, MA/Duxbury) and Michael Jennings (Basking Ridge, NJ/Ridge) each had a goal. Senior Flip Bongaerts (New Canaan, CT/New Canaan) shouldered the loss, making three saves to fall to 4-3 overall.

Rensselaer (7-1) is back in action on Saturday at league-rival Hamilton (1pm), while the Thoroughbreds welcome conference-foe St. Lawrence to Saratoga Springs, also on Saturday (1pm).


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