VMI Wins Thrilling Overtime Game Over Wagner

LEXINGTON, Va. – With a thrilling overtime victory, the VMI lacrosse team logged its first victory of the 2012 season, doing so in thrilling overtime fashion. Junior attackman put away the winner just 52 seconds into the extra stanza at the Institute's SprinTurf Field.

East's sniper, his first of game, getting an assist from senior midfielder Keith Long, ended a 14-game losing streak. VMI's last victory came one year ago, nearly to the day as the Keydets upended Presbyterian 15-9 on March 12, 2011 at home.

The game was a vengeance of sorts. The last time these two teams met two seasons ago, Wagner walked out of Lexington with an 8-7 overtime victory. The April 24, 2010 win still stands as the Seahawks' last win.

Senior face-off specialist Stephen Robarge went 22-26 at the face-off X, but none were bigger than his 22nd, which came at the beginning of overtime. After winning the draw, Robarge moved to ball down field to Long, who eventually hit East for the game-winner.

But the overtime period would not have come without the efforts of Drew Leonard, who stuffed home the game-tying goal with just five seconds left in regulation to force the extra period. Once again, it was Long who came up big on the back end with the game-tying assist.

"What a grinding game," said VMI head coach Brian Anken of his team's victory. "I knew that was a good Wagner team. We've watched them play a couple of times this year and they've got some really good weapons that we had some problems with throughout the game, but I thought we made great adjustments."

The overtime thriller, VMI's first extra stanza contest since May 1, 2010, featured eight ties and eleven lead changes, including three ties in the fourth quarter.

Part of VMI's success came from have eight different goal scorers on 12 total goals. Playing in his first game of the year after sitting out with an injury, sophomore attackman Mickey Hofmeister tallied the first hat trick of his career, posting three goals. Freshman Mike DeBlasio had a career-high tying three points on two goals and a dish. Leonard also capped his day with two goals, including the overtime –forcer.

VMI's other five goal scorers were Long, East, Robarge, Andrew Nieminski and Bernie Mowbray. In the assist column, Long led the way with a pair, while DeBlasio, East, Hofmeister and Anderson Caldwell had one helper each.

"It was almost 80 degrees and we're a team that likes to go deeper on the bench than most teams typically would and we try and do that any time we can," Anken said in regards to his eight different scorers. "Today was perhaps one of the best showings of unselfishness on offense that we've, with eight different goal scorers.

Wagner's scoring was paced by a trio of hat tricks from Colin O'Rourke, Mike Hurley and Nick DePhillips. Cory Santor and Brian Faughnan each chipped in one marker. Of Wagner's 11 goals, five were assisted, with O'Rourke capping a five-point day with two helpers. Dustin Doty, Mike Hurley and Cory Santor had one apiece.

Face-offs were a dominating stat for VMI during the game where Robarge put together one of his top career games. The last time Robarge won 20-plus draws was in the 2011 season finale when he went 20-29. Against Wagner, Robarge only lost four draws and went 22-26.

In the clearing and riding aspect of the game, VMI gained its offensive zone on 10 of its 11 tries. But more impressively, held Wagner to just 15 successful clears against 23 tries.

VMI (1-6) also won the groundball battle, grabbing 37 grounders to the Seahawks' 15. The Keydets' efforts were led by the face-off unit where Robarge hoovered a season-high 13 while wingman Chris Rossie collected six. The unit's other wing man, Long, grabbed three as Kyle Hofstetter grabbed up five.

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