The Le Moyne College mens’ lacrosse team made reservations for the NCAA Division II national championship game for the second consecutive season, after fighting off Merrimack in a 8-4 win at home in the Final Four on Saturday.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling, words can’t even describe how excited I am to get back to the championship game,” said Le Moyne senior defender Kyle Moyer. “Most players dream about going just once and to go back-to-back years is just an amazing feeling.”
The Dolphins will make their way to Philadelphia on Memorial Day Weekend for a rematch with the Limestone Saints, who defeated Tampa Bay 13-10 on Sunday afternoon. This will be a rematch of last year’s national championship game, where Limestone beat Le Moyne 9-6, also Limestone’s third straight trip to the title game.
“I know we all want a shot at Limestone again,” said Moyer. “We came up short last year and they’ve been the top team for the past two seasons, so beating them would definitely be the perfect way to reclaim the top spot.”
This will be a clash of Division II titans as each school is bringing and unblemished record into the title game. The Saints are 21-0 this season and Le Moyne is 19-0 on the year, which is a program record for wins in a single season.
Le Moyne had another impressive showing on Saturday as they defeated Merrimack for the third time this season, the most recent coming two weeks ago in the Northeast-10 Conference Championship.
The Dolphins used their balance to keep the Warriors in check. Offensively, Le Moyne can turn to a handful of players for scoring. Graduate student midfielder Matt Taylor and senior attackman Logan Thomas each scored twice on Saturday, while Kyle DeAngelis, Dan Entenmann, Andrew Jackson and Nick Kline all found the back of the net once.
Senior goalkeeper Alex Krawec paced Le Moyne’s backbone with 13 saves and shutdown a Merrimack offense that ranked second in all of Division II with an average of 15 goals per game.
Early in the second quarter when the scoreboard read a 2-1 Le Moyne lead, Merrimack was attempting to keep it close and make it a game. The bad news was that the Dolphins had a different agenda on their mind because at this point the No. 1 seed put together a four goal run, making it 6-1.
Merrimack ended their scoring drought with 45 seconds left in the half, but Le Moyne was unhappy with that, so Entenmann scored on a fast break with just one second remaining on the first half clock. This gave the Dolphins a 7-2 halftime lead.
Krawec and the nation’s top defense, who is averaging five goals allowed per game this season, went on to allow a goal apiece in the remaining quarters.
Next week’s contest against the two-time defending champions in Limestone will be a tougher game. Le Moyne will be making their ninth trip in program history to the championship game and looking to claim their fifth title, but first since 2013.
“It doesn’t matter who we are playing or what they do,” said Moyer. “It matters how we handle our business and last year’s loss is motivation in itself.”