Junior Keith Henderson scored a game-high five goals and was named Most Outstanding Player as the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) Bears captured the 2008 NCAA Division II Men’s Lacrosse National Championship with a 16-11 victory over LeMoyne [defending champion] this afternoon. Playing in front of a record crowd of 24,317 at Gillette Stadium, home of the NFL’s New England Patriots, the Bears rebounded from a 5-2 deficit at the end of the first quarter to win their fourth national championship and their first since the 2005 season.
LeMoyne would cut the Bears lead to 12-11 on Alex Billy’s goal one minute into the fourth quarter, but the Bears stopped any hope of a LeMoyne comeback, closing out the game with four unanswered goals. Matt Messina found a cutting Austin Carino in-front of the net for a man-up goal with 8:48 left to play and Ryan Amengual made another impressive move from behind the cage, beating his defender and scoring unassisted to give NYIT a 14-11 lead with just over seven minutes left to play. The Bears defense limited LeMoyne’s scoring opportunities and when they did get a good shot off, junior Chris Powers was there to make the save. Powers registered seven saves in the second half. Amengual gave the Bears some breathing room with his third of the game at the 1:46 mark and Flowers provided the final score, netting his second of the day with five seconds remaining.
Messina finished the game with two goals and a game-high three assists, and Carino and Amengual each added three goals in the victory. Powers, who set the tone early in net for the Bears with some big saves, stopped 11 of the Dolphins shots.
Notes…The Dolphins had not allowed more than seven goals in a game all season before today. NYIT’s man-up offense was stellar against the top defensive team in the country, scoring on four of their seven opportunities. NYIT took advantage of LeMoyne’s defense in one-one situations as 11 of the Bears 16 goals were unassisted. Henderson finished the season with 62 goals, just one shy of the all-time single season record of 63 set by Rob Grella in 1993.