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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Quinnipiac staves off VMI comeback attempt, win 13-12 on senior day

Tripp Menhall
Graduate student attack Jake Tellers moves past a VMI defender during a 13-12 win on April 13, 2024

HAMDEN — Just three days after a heartbreaking one-goal loss to Sacred Heart, the Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse team flipped the script and fought off VMI’s second half-surge en route to a 13-12 win Saturday afternoon. 

Quinnipiac — coming off two-straight losses — desperately needed a victory to right the ship and hold onto a top-four seed in the MAAC with the postseason looming.

The biggest factor in Saturday’s turnaround? Controlling the controllables. 

“I thought on Wednesday we got out of our game, we focused on the areas that we don’t have any control over,” head coach Mason Poli said. “It’s the confidence and encouragement that these guys have for each other. Busting their butts in practice day in and day out for when those scenarios come.” 

Prior to the game, Quinnipiac honored its nine seniors, midfielders Steven Germain, Evan Perry, Ryan Donnery, Adam Woodcock, Trevor Douglas, attacks Dylan Donnery, Trey Gehen, Kyle Connor, and defender Tommy Shaughnessy. 

The Keydets weren’t too worried about the festivities, however, as they ran out with the American flag in hand, while the Bobcats were still being celebrated. The act didn’t go unnoticed by Quinnipiac. 

“We saw (VMI) and that fired us up a little bit,” Germain said. “It’s a little disrespectful, so we answered.” 

Graduate student attack Jack Tellers set the tone early, striking from point blank to put the Bobcats on the board. Following a pair of VMI tallies, Tellers potted another for his 15th goal of the season. The Tolland, Connecticut, native is just one example of a team oozing leadership. 

“Those guys have been as professional as they come,” Poli said. “From day one they were a focused, motivated group and that has continued.” 

With the wind and rain whipping in Hamden, VMI — who was one game back of Quinnipiac in the MAAC standings heading into the contest — found itself up one as the first frame came to a close. 

As the second quarter began the momentum swung on its head in Quinnipiac’s favor, starting at the faceoff X. Freshman midfielder Frank Mousa got hot at the dot, winning four faceoffs, leading to the Bobcats controlling possession for large stretches of the quarter. 

“The past few games when we have struggled it’s really been (because of) possession time,” Poli said. “(We) haven’t been giving the offense the ball enough and in the second we were able to.”

The Keydets only mustered three shots in the second, one of which sailed wide and were held scoreless by junior goaltender Mason Oak.  

On the other end of the field, the Bobcats were finding the back of the net plenty and often. Quinnipiac outscored VMI 6-0 in the second, with all six goals coming from seniors. 

“We changed the culture here,” Germain said. “We always wanted to change the culture here, and now that we are seniors we’ve given it our all.” 

In the third, the pendulum swung back in the direction of the Keydets as they started to chip away at Quinnipiac’s lead. Senior midfielder AJ Stamos heard his name called out twice in the third, one coming off an impressive shot while he was falling away from the net. Sophomore midfielder Austin English added his own back-to-back goals, and suddenly it was a one-goal game. 

“(VMI) did a pretty good job at the faceoff X, having control of possessions (in the third),” Poli said. 

The fourth quarter had a playoff atmosphere with some big-time plays as VMI’s junior attack Luke Rusterucci sent a behind-the-back pass to English, who completed the hat trick to take the lead.  

Following English’s strike, Oak showed why he is on the Tewaaraton Award Men’s Watch List for the nation’s top players. He slammed the door six times on the Keydets, one of which being an impressive sliding-foot stop. 

“I think (Oak’s) stats are flawed in a sense against him the past few weeks,” Poli said. “We’ve struggled at the dot and have been playing a lot of defense, so his goals against have gone up. To have him giving us confidence on defense, he made a massive save in the fourth.” 

In the closing minutes, Douglas completed a hat trick of his own from the point to tie the game at 12. Just 30 seconds later, Dylan Donnery blasted a shot from the right side to beat sophomore goaltender Adam Norris, and ultimately win the game. 

For the Bobcats, this means clinching a spot in the MAAC tournament positioning them to host at least one game in the postseason.

As for the seniors — who have yet to win a MAAC tournament game — they have positioned themselves to lead the men’s lacrosse program to its most wins in a season (10) since 2016 (12). 

“That’s a huge win for us,” Germain said. “We win next week, we’re in a good spot.” 

Quinnipiac hits the road for its final game of the regular season against LIU on April 20 at 2 p.m.


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Colin Kennedy
Colin Kennedy, Managing Editor
Tripp Menhall
Tripp Menhall, Creative Director

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