The Canisius College men’s lacrosse team raced to an early lead and never looked back, cruising to a 19-7 victory against VMI on Senior Day. The Griffs – who scored 19 goals in a game for the first time in 13 years – improve to 7-6 on the season with the win, while the Keydets drop to 1-12.
“You want to be playing your best lacrosse at the end of the season and we get the sense that we are just about there after today’s performance,” said Canisius College head coach Randy Mearns. “We moved the ball well and made some great decisions. We knew that VMI was going to play a zone so we really worked on our zone offense this week. Our team did a good job of executing and buried their chances when they had the opportunity. I’m excited that we’re performing at a high level right now but it’s going to be a challenge going to Marist next week in a game we really need to win to get into the MAAC Tournament.”
The top attacking trio of junior Austin Romantic and sophomores Vince Gravino and Billy Jacobbi dominated the contest, accounting for 17 points, eight goals and nine assists in the victory. Romantic doubled his previous career high with six points in the win, netting a hat trick to go along with a personal-best three assists. Gravino matched his classmate with six points, scoring one goal and adding a career-best five helpers. Jacobbi then set career highs with five points and four goals in the convincing victory.
Junior Brandon Bull also chipped in a personal-best four goals – doubling his previous career high – while also winning 8-of-16 faceoffs. Senior Cody Soberanes, juniors Sam Connors, Tim Edwards and Cody Gould, sophomores Jimmy May and Mike Vavonese and freshman Jeff Edwards rounded out the scoring for the Griffs in the 19-goal attack.
Junior Alex Govenettio stopped a career-best 14 shots for the third-straight game to earn the win in net. Vavonese and sophomore Brendan Barren both set career highs in ground balls, leading the Griffs with five and four, respectively.
The Griffs scored early and often in the victory, racing to an 8-0 lead less than 20 minutes in the contest. Soberanes opened the scoring with the senior netting his first goal of the season on Senior Day just 82 seconds into the game. By the end of the first quarter, Canisius had grabbed a 5-0 lead with Jacobbi leading the Griffs with two tallies in the period.
The momentum carried over into the second quarter as Tim Edwards, Vavonese and Jacobbi all tallied goals in the first 3:24 as Canisius opened up an 8-0 lead. The Keydets finally got on the scoreboard with 4:33 remaining and scored two man-up goals as the teams headed into the intermission with the Griffs ahead, 8-2.
Canisius then scored the first five goals of the third stanza to put the game away with a 13-2 lead with 9:25 remaining in the period. The Griffs then cruised to the 19-7 win from there with May finishing the scoring with his first collegiate tally.
The Griffs held a slight advantage in shots (43-40), ground balls (33-27) and faceoffs (15-13) in the win. The difference was Canisius’ efficiency as the team shot a season-best 44.1 percent, while the Keydets converted just 17.5 percent of their shots.
Mickey Hofmeister led the Keydets with four points and three goals, while Evan Windisch and Michael Hutwelker combined to make nine saves in net.
Canisius returns to conference action next weekend with a key road contest at Marist. With a win, the Griffs secure the two seed for the MAAC Tournament but a loss could mean the team misses the conference tournament. Game time in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. is set for 7 p.m.
Game Notes: The Griffs’ 19 goals are the most for the team since scoring 21 against Siena on April 29, 2001 … The 12-goal margin of victory is the highest for Canisius since an 18-6 win against Wagner on March 24, 2007 … The Griffs’ 44.1 percent shooting is the team’s highest since converting 45.5 percent of their shots (10-of-22) in a 10-9 win against Siena in the 2012 MAAC Championship on May 6, 2012 … Gravino recorded five assists in the win after posting five helpers in the first 12 games of the season … Soberanes and classmate Dylan Knopfke were honored in a Senior Day ceremony prior to the game, playing in their final game at the Demske Sports Complex … Canisius has won 11 of the last 12 meetings against VMI.