A tremendous championship-game effort by the Clarkson University Lacrosse team came up just short for the Golden Knights in the Liberty League Tournament on Sunday as third-ranked Rochester Institute of Technology rallied to win the conference title on its home field in overtime 10-9.
Clarkson, which stands at 10-6 overall, never trailed in the contest until RIT (16-2) connected for the game-winner midway through the five-minute overtime session. The Tigers scored the final three goals in regulation to tie the game at 9-9 through 60 minutes. RIT then won the opening faceoff in extra time and controlled the ball before Taylor Wisman scored on a high shot from in close with 2:28 remaining in overtime to seal RIT’s 15th straight win at home, which clinched the Tigers’ second consecutive Liberty League Tournament title.
The Knights, who defeated St. Lawrence 7-5 in Friday’s semifinal round, were strong the majority of the game against the nationally-ranked Tigers. Clarkson took a 2-1 advantage in the first quarter, made it 5-2 at the half and built its lead to 8-5 through 45 minutes of playoff action. RIT turned the momentum in its favor by outscoring the Green and Gold 4-1 in the fourth quarter.
After the Knights took a 9-6 lead on senior Brendon Shearin’s (Goffstown, NH) fifth goal of the game with 12:46 remaining in regulation, RIT began its comeback. Wisman started the home team’s rally with his first goal of the game 61 seconds after Shearin’s score. With 3:38 remaining in the quarter, Eddie Kiesa scored his 32nd goal of the season to pull RIT within one. Wisman forced overtime with his second goal of the day with 1:23 left in the fourth.
Shearin led all scorers with five goals. Sophomore Corey Herrington (Camillus, NY) posted one goal and two assists, while classmate Matthew Gold (Pittsford, NY) tallied a goal and an assist. Junior Peter Goss (Jamesville, NY) and sophomore Robert Linder (Marcellus, NY) chipped in one goal apiece.
Playing one of the best games of his career, four-time Liberty League all-star, senior Ryan Cole (Orchard Park, NY) came through with a 15-save effort to give the Knights a chance for the upset victory.
RIT outshot Clarkson 41-34, including an 11-3 advantage in the fourth quarter, and took the only three shots in overtime. The Tigers also held a slim edge in ground balls 32-29.
Sophomore Dylan Broomfield (Clinton, NY) won 10-23 faceoffs and battled for a game-high eight ground balls.
Shearin, Cole and junior defenseman Brian Freeland (East Berlin, CT) were named to the Liberty League All-Tournament Team.
Wisman and Jack Krzyston scored three goals each for the Tigers. Kyle Aquin tallied twice.
Pat Johnston posted 11 saves in the RIT crease.