Dominican U. Loses Tight Battle to No. 2 Adelphi

ST. CHARLES, Mo. On the surface, the Dominican University of California-Adelphi University lacrosse game on Sunday represented a sort of a David versus Goliath match-up in the middle of America.

The young, upstart Penguins from the West brought their slingshots, if you will, and surged to a stunning 4-1 lead early in the second quarter but the established Panthers, seven-time national champions and the defending national tournament runner-up in NCAA Division II from the East, used two momentous bursts to rally for a 14-9 victory on a neutral field at Lindenwood University. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak by the Penguins (4-2) with both losses coming to nationally-ranked teams.

"They have a more storied program. They've won seven national championships while we've only had seven years of a program," said Head Coach Ned Webster. "When you really boil it down, it's a senior-ladened team in Adelphi versus a freshmen-ladened team at Dominican."

Senior Reed Upson and freshman Jake Fritz netted three goals apiece, freshman Kevin Powers had two assists and freshman Jake Bernstein and Cam Evangelho both contributed a goal and an assist for Dominican. Emmett Faricy capped the Penguins' scoring on the day with a goal.

Sophomore goalie Sean Donohue made 11 saves for the Penguins. They played the game close against the Panthers (3-0) despite being outshot 49-24, thanks in great part, Webster said, to defenders Corey Whelan and freshmen Dane Farguson and Case Donahue who matched-up with and limited Adelphi's Big Three of seniors Joe Vitale, Danny Blau and Kiernan Riegel to three goals.

Led by Vitale, a first team All-American, the Panthers are currently ranked No. 2 in the country by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association. Adelphi, with a student enrollment four times the size of Dominican, is located in Garden City, N.Y. on Long Island. On Friday, the Panthers defeated Dominican's rival, Notre Dame de Namur, 18-4 as 14 different players scored.

But on Sunday the Penguins caught the Panthers off guard. Fritz scored the game's first goal then Upson netted the next two to give Dominican a surprising 3-0 lead with three minutes left in the opening quarter. The last time Adelphi trailed by three goals in a game was in the NCAA Div. II championship game against Mercyhurst last May in Baltimore.

"That first quarter seemed like the only time in the game that we were winning face-offs and they changed up their face-off guys and we couldn't figure out the next guy," Webster said.

Dominican was ahead 4-1 early in the second quarter following an unsassited Evangelho goal when Adelphi changed its face-off strategy and dramatically changed the momentum of the game. The Panthers tallied three goals in 18 seconds then Vitale scored to give Adelphi the lead for good with 8:56 left in second quarter. Adelphi outshot Dominican 19-3 in the second quarter.

"I think if we won 50 percent of the face-offs then we win the game," Webster said. "You can't win the game if you don't have the ball. We didn't have the ball."

The Panthers scored six consecutive goals before the Penguins got back on the board with a Fritz unassisted goal with 12:40 left in the third quarter. Three minutes later, Bernstein also recorded an unassisted goal and suddenly Dominican had closed the gap to 7-6. But Adelphi once again scored six straight goals to put the pressure back on the Penguins.

"We made a couple of good defensive stands and cleared the ball successfully and we got possession for our offense and we scored. We executed," Webster said. "That's the hardest part about the game. We all believe and I would think their team, its coaches, would believe that if we had the ball more than we did then the score would have been a lot tighter than it was."

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