Dominican Battles Hard But Falls to #7 NYIT

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. - Back in 2005 when New York Institute of Technology won the third of its four NCAA Division II lacrosse national championships, new Dominican University of California head coach Ned Webster observed that if the Bears were the best team in the nation, his start-up Penguins' team arguably might be the worst. Well, the competitive gap has narrowed dramatically.

On Sunday, in front of a standing-room-only crowd of more than 600 at Dominican's Forest Meadows Field, the Penguins scored first against NYIT, the seventh-ranked team in the nation, then fell behind, battled back from a pair of four-goal deficits to trail only 7-5 entering the fourth quarter with momentum before the Bears scored three goals in a two-minute span to escape with an 11-8 win.

It was the season-opening game for the Penguins. The Bears were coming off a 12-3 win over Dominican rival Notre Dame de Namur University on Friday when NYIT scored the first nine goals of the game.

The Penguins gave the Bears all they could handle from the outset, scoring first on a shot by freshman Jake Bernstein that beat NYIT goalie Billy McGee high on the stick side at the 9:34 mark of the first quartet. From that point, Dominican had NYIT's attention and respect.

"It's fun to see the growth in our program in that short amount of time," Webster said. "Moral victory? I think I might believe in it in a few days but right now we can see that it was right there for the taking. I think we were all optimistic at the end of the third quarter."

Sophomore Dalton Copeland scored three goals and Reed Upson had two but it was a goal by Emmett Faricy, a Dominican graduate student, on a pass from freshman Kevin Powers that had the Penguins thinking upset. Faricy tallied with 2:11 left in the third quarter, knifing NYIT's lead to two goals and inspiring the pro-Dominican crowd to begin chanting, "Let's go DU!"

The Penguins were matching the Bears' experience and physicality.

"I love our heart and our athleticism. I think we have the makings of a really good team," Webster said. "Whenever you win the ground ball battle, as we did (34-29), you feel like you should win the game.

"But to beat a team that's traditionally that strong on grounds balls and hustle plays? To feel like we outplayed them in that category, that feels pretty good."

What hurt the Penguins was a pair of quick man-up goals by Bears freshman Brandon Gamblin - a transfer from NCAA Div. I UMass who was a high school All-American - with Penguins players serving penalties in the first half. Then Cory Triola scored one of his three goals in a three-goal-in-two-minute outburst by the Bears for a 10-5 lead with 11:07 to go in the game.

Dominican, however, didn't roll over. Copeland scored a man-up goal off another assist by Powers, then Powers netted the first goal of his Dominican career with 6:55 to play to make it 10-7. But Gamblin tallied his third goal following an inadvertent whistle with 1:50 to go to secure the victory. Upson beat the final buzzer by a second to record the Penguins' final goal.

The margin might have been wider if not for some splendid goal keeping from sophomore Sean Donohue (13 saves), some solid defensive work from the likes of Ben Wang, Corey Whelan, Austin Franks, and freshman Dane Farguson, and nifty face-off work by freshman Dylan Acevedo in the second half.

The Penguins return to Forest Meadows Field on Saturday, February 25 when they host Notre Dame de Namur University. Game time is 1:00 p.m.


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