Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/31/21
From Press Release and Staff Report
RIT junior Ryan Rosenblum said winning the NCAA Division III National championship and doing it Sunday at East Hartford (CT) with a thrilling, come-from-behind 15-14, double-overtime win over mighty Salisbury to cap an undefeated season has not yet sunk in.
“It still hasn’t fully set in that we are national champs but it feels incredible knowing all the work and effort we put in all season has finally paid off,” said the junior midfielder from Spring-Ford who had one key goal, two assists and a groundball. “We had some very tough games throughout the season but with every challenge we came together and persevered.
“It was easy to see how from game to game our team was getting better and starting to fully click together. It was amazing what this team has been able to do this year and it was a special moment to be able to celebrate our national championship win with all of our alumni and families showing out in Hartford.”
RIT senior midfielder Ryan Barnable scored the double-overtime game-winning goal for the Tigers, giving them their s first national championship in program history while finishing the season with an unblemished 14-0 record. The third time was also the charm for the Tigers after falling in the 2013 and 2017 national championship games, including a 16-14 setback to the Sea Gulls four years ago.
For Salisbury, Griffin Moroney (Hun School) had five goals, Cross Ferrara (Appoquinimink-DE) had two goals and Pierre Armstrong (Hatboro-Horsham) had a goal and two assists.
Salisbury had outscored its opponents, 94-21, in the first four playoff games. But after the Sea Gulls used a 60-2 run to take a 13-11 lead, Rosenblum scored and RIT held tough.
“On the offensive end we knew exactly what we needed to do coming into the game and it was nothing new,” Rosenblum said. “We wanted to stick to the same things we’ve been doing all season and dictate the tempo and play rather than letting Salisbury’s defense dictate our offensive.
“Ultimately we wanted to focus on ourselves and our play, knowing that when we play as a unit on offense it is very hard to stop. Overall, I think most of the game we were very focused and were working together sharing the ball and setting picks to create opportunities.”
Senior attackman Quinn Commandant was named the tournament Most Outstanding Player after totaling five goals and two assists in the victory.
Salisbury won the opening face-off of the second overtime, but senior LSM Taylor Jensen caused a turnover to give the Tigers possession with 3:47 on the clock. Setting up the offense, senior attackman Marley Angus (Oakville, Ontario/Holy Trinity) took a shot that went wide of the cage, but the Tigers backed up the shot to retain possession with 2:30 on the clock. On the re-start, senior attackman Dawson Tait (Ottawa, Ontario/Mother Teresa) whipped a pass from behind the Sea Gulls’ goal in front of a crowded crease to Barnable, who tipped the ball out of the air into the net for the historic tally.
“Something that I think this team does very well is deal with adversity,” Rosenblum said. “Even when we were down by 2 late in the fourth everyone on the bench and on the field had energy and wasn’t showing any worry.
“After we got within one you could almost feel it that we weren’t done, that we were going to fight back with everything to tie the game up and eventually win.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
RIT senior goalie Walker Hare was credited with 14 saves, including a game-saving stop with 1:07 left in the first overtime.
Commandant scored the final goal of the first quarter and opened the second quarter with another tally to push the Tigers to a 5-3 with 13:03 on the clock. Salisbury answered at 10:28, but Commandant tallied again for a 6-4 RIT lead with 9:59 left in the half.
Salisbury scored three-straight goals in a 1:27 stretch to take a 7-6 lead with 7:12 on the clock, but senior face-off specialist Nick Montemorano won the ensuing face-off and scored seven seconds later to kick-start a 3-0 run which yielded a 9-7 RIT halftime lead.
Salisbury out-scored RIT, 4-1, in the third quarter and scored 25 seconds into the fourth to take a 12-10 lead. Tait capitalized on a Sea Gull miscue at 11:56 before the Sea Gulls answered a minute later to retake a 13-11 lead.
Rosenblum scored unassisted on a strong dodge in front with 8:47 remaining before Barnable bulled his way to the crease to knot the game, 13-13, 41 seconds later.
Salisbury took a 14-13 lead with 7:13 left in regulation and was nearly able to run out the clock, but the Tigers capitalized on a Sea Gull turnover with 17 seconds left as Barnable hit Commandant on the crease for his fifth of the game with 12 seconds left in regulation.
RIT had the first two possession of the first overtime, but couldn’t convert, while Hare also kept the Gulls at bay to force a second OT and setup Barnable and Tait’s double-overtime heroics.