DeBlasio Leads VMI to Senior Day Win over Manhattan

LEXINGTON, Va. -- To say it was an efficient day for sophomore Mike DeBlasio might be an understatement. The attackman buried four goals on five shots to help lead VMI to its first victory of the 2013 season, downing visiting Manhattan 10-6 Saturday afternoon.

Prior to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game, the coaching staff honored the team's seven seniors, Will Baker, Russell East, Drew Epps, Taylor Jenkins, Matt Lindemann, Tom Moran and James Van Wie, all of whom played their final game at Drill Field #2.

The victory snapped an 11-game slid for the Keydets (1-11, 1-4 MAAC), while also giving the program wins in consecutive home finales for the first time in program history. VMI head coach Brian Anken improved to 2-1 all-time against the Jaspers, while also giving the Keydets' their first back-to-back wins over Manhattan in series history after last season's 9-7 win at Gaelic Park in Riverdale, N.Y.

"It feels great, it's more of a relief for me than anything," said third-year head coach Brian Anken. "I know for our guys, it feels great. It was well deserved, well-earned and just a lot of hard work coming into this. We've been close a lot of times, we haven't been close a few times, and trying to put the pieces together on a tough year, this culminates a lot of hard work and a lot of effort."

DeBlasio led the game with his four goals, a career high for the Patchogue, N.Y. native and his first hat trick since March 24, 2012 against Jacksonville University. East was VMI's second leading scorer, posting his second straight game with two goals and one assist. Sophomore Anthony Mordaga had a solid day with one goal and two helpers while freshman Gage Snowbarger continued his point-producing ways, getting a goal and an assist for his sixth-consecutive game with at least one point. Bernie Mowbray and Ian Marinacci accounted for the final two VMI goals while Moran and Alex Hentorn had one assist each.

"It takes a bunch of games and a bunch of injuries and rotating some guys around and systematic changes to sometimes find something that works out and works out well," said Anken of the struggles the team has faced in 2013. "We felt good about Mike's role coming into today's game, but we didn't imagine him exploding for four goals and some of the crucial goals he had, especially early on. Mike has the capability to do that every game."

Manhattan (3-10, 0-5 MAAC) was paced by two goals from Patrick Hodapp, while Tyler Eidel and Brett Madarasz contributed one goal and one assist each. Ryan Payton and Tyler Jarvis notched one goal apiece.

Leading the nation with 15.1 saves per game, Lindemann seems to always have big games against Manhattan, coming up with 18 stops on Saturday. Last season, he turned aside 15 Jasper shots. With his 18 saves at Drill Field #2, Lindemann has 328 career saves, putting him just 10 away from sixth-place all-time in program history.

Across from Lindemann, Rich Akapnitis suffered the loss, making 11 saves against VMI's 26 total shots, but allowed 10 goals, including seven in the first half.

The defense in front of Lindemann was stout, forcing 12 Jasper turnovers, including three each from Tyler Prasnicki, who was sixth in the country with 2.33 caused turnovers per game, and Baker, who had a team-high six groundballs. The pair of Jenkins and Rory Dillon each had two caused turnovers. The six goals allowed are not only the fewest by the Keydets this season, but the fewest allowed against the Jaspers in the 13 previous meetings. The six Jasper goals were the fewest VMI has allowed in a MAAC game since taking down Wagner College 13-6 on March 29, 2008.

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