Men’s Lacrosse to face Union for 2022 NCAA National Championship

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The RIT men’s lacrosse team takes on Union in the 2022 NCAA Division III Men’s Lacrosse Championship, Sunday at 1:00 p.m., at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. 
The defending Division III national champions are making their 12th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 23rd overall. RIT has reached the quarterfinals 17 times, played in 12 national semifinal games and will make its fourth appearance in the national championship game, Sunday (2021, 2017 and 2013).
Last Time Out: RIT advanced to the national championship with a 26-15 win over No. 4 Tufts in Sunday’s semifinal game. The Tigers scored eight straight first-quarter goals and led 10-4 after the first 15 minutes. Junior attackman Luke Pilcher and freshman Clifford Gaston each scored seven goals, while senior attackman Quinn Commandant scored five goals. Senior LSM Taylor Jensen caused a career-high eight turnovers and senior goalie Drew Hutchison made 12 saves in net to improve to 21-1.
RIT’s High-Octane Offense: RIT enters the weekend seventh in the nation averaging 18.14 goals per game and 13th converting 45.9 percent (28-of-61) of its man-up chances. RIT leads Division III with 250 assists and is fifth in the nation averaging 11.36 assists per game. The Tigers are tied for second in the country with 649 points and are sixth in the country, averaging 29.5 points per game.
RIT features 11 players with 20 or more points and 12 players with at least 10 goals. Pilcher leads RIT with 78 points on 58 goals and 20 assists. Commandant is second with 67 points (42g, 25a) and senior Marley Angus is third in scoring with 63 points (38g, 25a).
RIT’s Defense: RIT allows 9.05 goals per game and average 10.71 caused turnovers per contest. The Tigers have won 52.8 percent (354-of-671) of their face-offs and are fourth in Division III, averaging 41.4 ground balls per contest. RIT entered the weekend tied for 17th in Division III holding its opponents to 12 man-up goals in 60 chances (80.0 percent).
Hutchison has started every game in net this season and enters Championship Weekend with an 8.19 goals against average and a .589 save percentage. He is 4-0 in four NCAA Tournament games with an 8.48 goals against average and a .633 saver percentage.
Jensen leads the team with 45 caused turnovers, averaging 2.04 per game. The 2022 Liberty League Co-Defensive Player of the Year is second on the team with 76 ground balls and has 13 points on five goals and eight assists. Graduate student Jimmy Spillane has won 245-of-448 (54.7%) of his face-offs this season and leads the team with 130 ground balls.
About Union: Union is making its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance and first trip to the National Championship. The Dutchmen defeated No. 6 York 11-8 in Sunday’s semifinal. Senior attackman Peter Burnes and classmate Hayden Frey each tallied two goals and an assist to lead Union. Sophomore goalie Dan Donahue made 16 saves in net for the Dutchmen.
Union entered Championship Weekend averaging 14.75 goals per game, outscoring their opponents 295-183. The Dutchmen are 18-of-50 (36.0 percent) on man-up chances and are shooting 59.7 percent as a team.
The Dutchmen feature seven players with 20 or more points and eight players with 10 or more goals. Burnes leads Union with 84 points on 59 goals and 25 assists. Senior attackman Keaton McCann is second in scoring with 67 points (43g, 24a) and Frey is third with 64 points (36g, 28a).
Defensively, Union allows 9.15 goals per game, causing 9.3 turnovers per contest. The Dutchmen have won 64.9 percent (349-of-538) of their face-offs and average 37.1 ground balls per game.
Donahue has seen the majority of the minutes in net for Union and enters Championship Weekend with a 17-2 record with an 9.36 goals against average and a .574 save percentage. Senior defenseman Matt Belluche leads Union with 26 caused turnovers, while senior defenseman Ryan Puglisi is second with 24 caused turnovers. Sophomore face-off specialist Matthew Paolatto has won 183-of-259 (70.7 percent) of his face-offs and leads the team with 125 ground balls.
Record Goals in 2022: With one game remaining in the 2022 season, RIT has set a new single-season record, scoring 399 goals in 2022, breaking the old record of 394 goals set in 2015.
The Century Club: Five Tigers have 100 or more career points heading into Championship Weekend. Senior midfielder Ryan Barnable enters the weekend fifth all-time in scoring with 238 career points (117g, 121a), and is fifth all time at the university with 121 career assists. Senior attackman Quinn Commandant is 12th all-time in scoring with 195 points (126g, 69a). Senior midfielder Marley Angus enters the weekend with 109 points (65g, 28a), classmate Spencer Bell has 105 points (72g, 33a) and junior attackman has 101 points (76g, 25a). Pilcher enters the weekend with 87 points which is tied for ninth all-time for points in a season, and tied for fourth with 65 goals.
Quick on the Draw: Graduate student face-off specialist Jimmy Spillane enters Championship Weekend 630 face-off wins, which is first all-time in program history. His 245 face-off wins is fourth-most in a season at RIT, while his 130 ground balls is tied for eight-most in a season.
Road to the Championship: RIT defeated Albion (22-6), No. 13 MIT (22-3), No. 9 Bowdoin (20-14) and No. 4 Tufts (26-15) to reach Championship Weekend. The Tigers enter the weekend averaging 22.5 goals per game and are outscoring their opponents 90-38 in four NCAA Tournament games. Defensively, RIT is holding its opponents to 9.50 goals per game, causing 11.25 turnovers per game and are winning 54.2 percent of its face-offs.
The Tigers are outscoring their opponents 46-16 in the second and third quarters in four NCAA Tournament games, holding Bowdoin scoreless in the third quarter in the quarterfinal.
Rank and File: Ten of RIT’s 21 opponents are ranked in the USILA Coaches Poll, including No. 4 St. John Fisher, No. 4 Tufts, No. 6 York, No. 8 Union, No. 9 Bowdoin and No. 10 St. Lawrence.
Tournament Tested: Thirty-nine Tigers on this year’s roster has NCAA Tournament experience led by senior midfielder Ryan Barnable who has played in 13 NCAA Tournament games. He enters Championship Weekend with 42 points on 16 goals and 26 assists in the NCAA Tournament, and scored the game-winning goal in the Tigers double overtime win over Salisbury in the 2021 national championship game. The 2021 Most Outstanding Player of the championship game, senior Quinn Commandant enters the weekend with 48 points on 32 goals and 16 assists in 12 NCAA Tournament games, including five goals and seven points in last year’s title game. Senior defensive midfielders Pent Eistrat (3g, 7a, 8 GB’s, 4 CT’s) and Andrew Powlin (3g, 11 GB’s, 1 CT) have each played in 11 NCAA Tournament contests, while senior attackman Spencer Bell (17g, 6a, 23P) has played in 10 tournament games. Eistrat tallied a goal and an assist against Salisbury in last year’s championship game. Senior midfielder Marley Angus will play in his ninth NCAA Tournament game and enters Championship Weekend with 24 points on 16 goals and eight assists. Angus tallied a goal and an assist against Salisbury in last year’s championship game. RIT features 44 players on the 2022 roster that were on the roster in 2021 for the Tigers first national championship, including 12 that saw game-time.
Liberty League High Honors: Eight Tigers were selected to the 2022 Liberty League Men’s Lacrosse All-Conference Team. Seniors Taylor Jensen, Ryan Barnable and Marley Angus and sophomore Mike Grace were first team selections. Senior Quinn Commandant, junior Luke Pilcher and senior Pent Eistrat were second team picks, while senior Drew Hutchison was an honorable mention selection. Jensen was named 2022 Liberty League Co-Defensive Player of the Year and Jake Coon and his coaching staff were named Liberty League Coaching Staff of the Year for the second straight season.
Tigers in the Big Dance: The defending Division III national champions are making their 12th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and 23rd overall. RIT has reached the quarterfinals 17 times, and 12 national semifinal games. The Tigers advanced to the national championship game for the fourth time on Sunday (2021, 2017 and 2013).
Coon’s NCAA Brilliance: Jake Coon began his coaching tenure in 2010. Since then, RIT has enjoyed unparalleled success, leading the Tigers to its first national championship in program history in 2021. Entering this weekend, Coon has led RIT to an impressive 227-24 (.904 winning percentage), including six 20-win seasons, eight seasons with at least 19 victories and nine seasons with at least 18 wins. RIT has won a conference title in all 13 of Coon’s seasons (2010 and 2011, Empire 8, 2012-22 Liberty League; note the 2020 Liberty League Tournament was cancelled due to COVID Pandemic), and are 20-0 in league
tournament games. Coon has led RIT to a 31-10 (.756) record in the NCAA Tournament. In RIT’s first 42
seasons as a program, they went just 6-11 in NCAA play.
Coaching Legacy at RIT: Coon, RIT’s all-time leader with 227 wins at the university, continues in the fine coaching tradition at RIT throughout the years. It all started with Bill Tierney, the now legendary Division I coach at Denver University, who coached at RIT from 1982-84 and went 34-7. He won six national titles at Princeton and won the 2015 National Championship with the Pioneers. Bill Glennon led RIT to three straight NCAA Tournament Appearances from 1985-87 and coached as a head or
assistant coach at several prestigious universities or prep schools. Guy Van Arsdale coached at RIT from 1989-2000 and is second at the university with 112 coaching wins. Gene Peluso recorded 88 wins at RIT from 2002-09 and is currently the Head Coach at Stevens Institute of Technology.

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