No. 15 RPI Gallops Past Thoroughbreds for Liberty Title

TROY, N.Y. The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men's lacrosse team opened a 9-1 lead after the first half of action and rolled to a 14-4 victory over Skidmore College in the championship game of the 2010 Liberty League Tournament. With the win, the #15 Engineers earn the conference's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament and improve to 14-2 on the season. The Thoroughbreds end their season with a 9-6 record.

RPI, which also earned its first-ever league tournament title with the win, will learn its fate in this year's NCAA Tournament on Sunday night. The complete Division III field will be announced tonight, beginning at 10pm on CBS College Sports Network. The Engineers last appearance in the NCAA's came in 2001, when they advanced to the Quarterfinals after a First Round win at Cortland State.

Rensselaer came out firing in the first quarter, opening up a 4-0 lead behind tallies from four different players. The Engineers made it a five-goal lead at the start of the second quarter as sophomore face-off specialist Brian Larkin (Florham Park, NJ/Seton Hall Prep.) won the draw and raced the ball up the field, firing a quick shot past Skidmore keeper Flip Bongaerts (New Canaan, CT/New Canaan) just seven seconds in.

Skidmore finally got on the board, just 14 seconds after Larkin's tally as senior attack Rob Lutin (Port Washington, NY/Schreiber) collected a sharp pass from classmate Cory Barkoff (Woodbury, NY/Syosset) and sent it past the RPI keeper at 14:39.

Rensselaer responded quickly scoring eight straight goals between the second and third quarters to take a 13-1 lead with 8:19 remaining in the third stanza. Junior Nick Billy (Redding, CT/Joel Barlow) started the rally and sophomore Andrew Miller (New Hartford, NY/New Hartford) scored a pair of goals, finishing with a game-best three tallies.

Freshman netminder James Manchester (Niskayuna, NY/Niskayuna) sparkled in goal, stopping nine shots in 45:00 minutes, including four critical stops in the third quarter, holding the Thoroughbreds to just one tally. For his efforts, he was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player and an All-Tournament Team selection, stopping 24 shots (13 saves against St. Lawrence) and allowing just six goals in two contests.

Skidmore put on pressure in the final quarter of play as Barkoff, Lutin and senior Alex Giaimo (Manhasset, NY/Manhasset) each tallied, but the Thoroughbreds could not cut the deficit further as senior Devin Arnold (Buffalo, NY/Canisius) scored his second of the contest and the Rensselaer defense held strong in the closing seconds for the victory.

In addition to Miller, the Engineers got two goals and two assists from Arnold. Billy finished with two goals and an assist, while Bryant Johnson (Minnetonka, MN/The Blake School) also added two goals. Senior Paul Cerone (Ridgefield, CT/Ridgefield) and junior Conor Chocheles (Babylon, NY/Babylon) both had a goal and an assist.

Junior Angelo Luppino (Mt. Kisco, NY/Fox Lane) came on in relief of Manchester in the fourth quarter, making six stops before giving way to sophomore Jon Yen (Short Hills, NJ/Millburn), who had one save in the final 4:12 of the game.

For Skidmore, Lutin posted a team-high two goals, while Barkoff had a goal and an assist. In goal, Bongaerts shouldered the loss, stopping two shots in 18:13 minutes. Freshman Conor Kearney (Wilbraham, MA/Minnechaug) came on in relief and made three saves in 35:00 before giving way to sophomore Connor Dowling (Darien, CT/Darien), who had one save. Senior Vivek Huded (Haddam, CT/Loomis Chaffee) played the final 1:30 for Skidmore.

Joining Manchester on the All-League Tournament Team from RPI was Arnold, Johnson, Miller, and defenders Tyler Hutchinson (New Hartford, NY/New Hartford) and Scott Stolzenberg (East Brunswick, NJ/East Brunswick). Other All-Tourney selections included Skidmore's Lutin and defender Scott Grillo (Wellesley, MA/Wellesley), Union's Scott Garibaldi and St. Lawrence's Harry Johnson.

2010-05-09



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