Dominican University Falls to Saint Michael's

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. - The young Dominican University of California lacrosse team met its match on Thursday, losing 16-7 to veteran and skilled Saint Michael's College of Vermont at Forest Meadows Field.

"We got beat by a very good team, but we certainly didn't help ourselves," said Head Coach Ned Webster. "It's the best team we've faced so far."

Dominican's other two losses this season have been to Adelphi and New York Institute of Technology, ranked No. 2 and No. 10, respectively, this week in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Poll coaches' poll.

Dalton Copeland and freshman Kevin Powers scored two goals each for the Penguins (3-3) while freshmen Jake Bernstein and Jake Fritz added a goal. Powers, Reed Upson and Cam Evangelho recorded assists for Dominican.

Pete Donally had five goals for the Purple Knights (3-1), who were ranked 10th in the nation among NCAA Division II teams last fall. Last week they lost 6-5 to Northeast-10 Conference rival Saint Anselm, now 12th ranked in the country this week in the USILA poll.

It was a mismatch in experience from the start. The Purple Knights, with 12 seniors on the roster, started six. Dominican in turn started six freshmen.

The Penguins, minus injured senior defender Ben Wang and veteran Austin Franks, played sloppy on a soggy field in the first quarter and found themselves in a hole, trailing 4-1 after the first 15 minutes. Dominican was outshot 10-4 in the first quarter while Saint Michael's won the groundball battle 11-3.

"We got outhustled and outwitted it seemed," Webster said.

Nevertheless, the Penguins appeared on the verge of a comeback. Copeland scored his second goal after intercepting a clearing pass then, a minute later, Fritz set up Bernstein in front of the Saint Michael's cage. But Bernstein, with a chance to pull the Penguins within a goal, shot the ball wide.

The Purple Knights took advantage of that and seized control of the game, tallying three consecutive goals with deft passing. A great catch by Tai Sing Hee led to a Powers goal, but Dominican went to intermission trailing 9-3.

"I think when we went down big, we were feeling a bit of pressure to score and all of our possessions were rushed," Webster said. "Being down by that much results in a lot of guys trying to do too much and that's the sign of a young team."

Dominican made another charge. Nick Dela Espriella, who once played club lacrosse at NCAA Division I Indiana, netted his first goal in his first game with the Penguins then Dominican capitalized on a one-minute cross checking penalty on Saint Michael, to score two man-up goals by Fritz and Bernstein. Powers scored again to keep the Penguins within four goals, 11-7, with 13 minutes to play in the game but a check by Corey Whelan knocking Saint Michael senior Evan White into the bleachers and out of the game with a leg contusion riled the Purple Knights.

They scored the next four goals in two minutes.

"Normally a big hit can move the momentum in your favor," Webster said. "But when we hit arguably their best player out of bounds, that hit seem to ignite them. They obviously have a lot of respect for him. It really lit a fire under them."

The Penguins resume their four-game homestand on Sunday when they entertain Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association rival Adams State College of Colorado. Game time at Forest Meadows Field has been moved up to noon.


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