Limestone Tops LIU Post to Win Div. II Lacrosse Championship

BALTIMORE, Md. - A seven-goal second quarter and stellar defense led No. 2 Limestone (19-1) back to the top of the lacrosse world, as they defeated No. 7 LIU Post (11-6) 12-6 to claim their third Division II championship on Sunday. The Saints won their two previous titles in 2000 and 2002.

"What an honor to be here," said head coach J.B. Clarke. "We talked a lot about in the past week about what being here on Memorial Day weekend really means. Our team played really tough today for a long time and that's what we asked them to do. It's a very unselfish team, truly a team this year".

Sophomore attack Vinny Ricci (Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada) earned Most Outstanding Player with four goals and an assist while senior attack Todd Nakasuji (Ajax, Ontario, Canada) had a pair of goals, an assist and three groundballs. Senior midfielder Joshua Williams (Davidsonville, Md.) added a pair of scores and sophomore attack Kyle Rhatigan (Holbrook, N.Y.) finished with a goal and two assists.

Senior midfielder Joey Rotolone (Edgewater, Md.), freshman midfielder Colton Watkinson (Burlington, Ontario, Canada) and junior midfielder Calyl Robinson (Annapolis, Md.) each added a solo goal and freshman attack Anthony Quiles (Greer, S.C.) notched a pair of assists.

Senior defenseman Anthony Starnino (Rochester, N.Y.) finished his career in style as he delivered seven groundballs and an impressive five caused turnovers in front of sophomore goal keeper Patrick Sheridan (Fairport, N.Y.), who played all 60 minutes and allowed just six goals while making 13 saves. He improves to 19-1 on the season, extending his own program record for wins in a year.

With a title game pitting a pair of teams known for their outstanding defense, it came as no surprise that the first quarter would be a defensive battle. Matty Beccarris got the Pioneers on the board first as he connected for an unassisted score just 1:37 in before Joey Rotolone ripped one from the right side extended to knot it at 1-1 at 10:51.

The teams would go scoreless for nearly the next six minutes before Post's Anthony Berardis broke the deadlock with his 21st goal of the year at 5:09. The teams would then return to their defensive ways as they headed to the end of the frame with the Pioneers up 2-1.

The second quarter would be the complete opposite as the Saints came out firing on all cylinders on offense as well as defense. They would outscore LIU Post by an incredible 7-2 margin to flip the script entirely and go ahead 8-4 by the half. Ricci got the ball rolling off a pass from Quiles to tie it at 2-2 (13:32) before Post's Ryan Slane scored two minutes later to give the Pioneers a 3-2 advantage.

From there, Limestone delivered three straight scores as Ricci (8:04), Williams (6:16 from Ricci) and Nakasuji (3:49, man-up from Messenger) each found the back of the cage for a 6-3 lead at 3:49. Beccarris answered back with a score just 18 seconds later to cut it back to two before two more Saints goals in the final two minutes by Ricci (1:59 from Rhatigan) and Willams (0:43) sent Limestone to the break with their four goal margin.

The third quarter would see the teams return to a defensive mentality but not before Colton Watkinson made it 9-4 with an unassisted score at 13:37. The teams would then remain scoreless for the next 8:58 before Chris Caiazza connected at 2:39 to make it 9-5. Just under a minute later Rhatigan got that goal back as he took a pass from Quiles and deposited it in the back of the net for a 10-5 lead heading into the fourth.

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