Men’s Lacrosse Tops Ithaca to Claim First Empire 8 Title
The top seeded Stevens men’s lacrosse team claimed the program’s first ever Empire 8 Conference title on May 5 with a 10-7 victory over Ithaca College at the De Baun Athletic Complex in a matchup of the top two teams in the Empire 8. Senior defender Matt Marks was named the championship’s Most Valuable Player after leading Stevens with six groundballs and four caused turnovers. The Ducks will head into the NCAA Tournament with a 16-2 overall record, matching the most wins in school history and a seven-game winning streak.
After the Bombers (12-6) netted the game’s first goal in the opening two minutes of the game, Stevens went on a 3-0 run over the next 6:32 to build a 3-1 advantage just over halfway through with the first quarter and never fell behind on the scoreboard the rest of the game.
Junior midfielder Rich Dupras tallied the Ducks’ first score of the game unassisted two minutes after the first Ithaca goal. Fellow junior midfielder Harrison Dorne then put Stevens in the driver’s seat with another unassisted goal just 2:30 after the Dupras score. Exactly two minutes ticked off the clock before the third consecutive unassisted Stevens goal was recorded by senior attack Alex Hofrichter. Dupras finished the game with five points on two goals and three assists, while Hofrichter later assisted on a score.
Ithaca responded with 1:45 to go in the first quarter to make the contest a one-goal difference, but junior midfielder Nicolas Philippi staked the Ducks back to a two-goal lead in the final seconds of the period off a feed from Hofrichter.
Philippi then put Stevens ahead by three scores, striking first in the second period off a pass from Dupras with 12:19 left in the half. Philippi would post a game-high five goals in the game, including four of the last six tallies by the Ducks.
The Bombers would fight back, however, with a 3-0 run of their own in the second period over the final 10:39 to go into halftime deadlocked at 5. Ithaca netted its first goal at the 10:39 mark and then picked up another just three minutes later. The first half scoring closed out with just 17 seconds to go on the final score. All three goals registered by the Bombers were assisted.
Stevens’ suffocating defense showed up in the second half and allowed just two goals to Ithaca over the final 30 minutes of play. In the past four games for the Ducks, their opposition has only scored six second half goals.
Philippi would net two straight man-up goals to begin the third quarter off passes from Dupras. The first extra man chance came with 9:42 in the third and the next happened 1:47 later, pushing the Ducks’ lead back out to two goals, 7-5.
A man-up opportunity for the Bombers brought the difference back to one goal, 7-6, with just over five minutes left in the period before senior attack Kevin Rose picked up his lone point of the game on the final score of the third period off a transition pass from sophomore long stick midfielder Tim Culloty.
Dupras put the Ducks ahead by three, 9-6, in the opening 1:20 of the fourth to end his offensive output. Ithaca answered back with 11:07 remaining in the game, but the final tally went to Phlippi off a pass from senior midfielder Taylor Brown to secure the victory and first conference title for Stevens with 9:20 left in the contest.
Freshman Matthew Deiner picked up his fourth straight victory and fifth of the season in 60 minutes of action in cage. Deiner stopped six shots in the win.
That stout Stevens defense caused 11 of the 18 turnovers by Ithaca and scooped up more groundballs, 23-19. The Ducks also forced the Bombers to fail on five of 19 clear attempts, while Stevens was unsuccessful once in 16 tries.
The Ducks would also take more shots than Ithaca in the contest, 37-24.
Stevens will await to see who, where and when it will play in the NCAA Division III Men’s Lacrosse Tournament after tomorrow night’s Selection Show. No time for the show is available at this moment.