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Donovan Powell
Donovan Powell scored four goals for the Bears.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Lacrosse Defeats Limestone to Advance to Semifinals

The Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Lacrosse Team defeated No. 3 seeded Limestone, 15-13, to advance to the program’s second-straight NCAA semifinal.

In the third quarter, the Saints started to find their groove on the offensive side of the field as Limestone jumped out to a four-goal advantage with a 12-8 lead.

However, the Bears stormed right back into the mix with seven unanswered goals to swing the momentum back into their favor and defend home turf in the NCAA quarterfinal contest.

Donovan Powell, the sophomore from Chesapeake Beach, Md., led the Bears with a five-point performance. He scored the first three goals of the game to set the tempo for LR with a team-high four goals.

With the win, LR has now won a program-best five-straight NCAA Tournament games and will battle against Tampa for the fourth consecutive postseason.

Will Canata, the graduate student from Waxhaw, N.C., finished second on the team with a three-goal contest. In the SAC Championship, Canata led the Bears with four points, all coming off assists.

The fourth quarter was the widest scoring margin in the game. The Bears outscored the Saints, 5-1. The only goal that Limestone scored was from Carter Brand in the final seconds.

The Bears controlled the face offs in the opening half, winning 11 of them compared to Limestone’s four. In the second half, the two programs each had eight face-off victories.

LR was consistent with the ground balls by getting at least seven in each quarter. The Bears collected 33 ground balls compared to the Saints’ 26.

Rob Pensabene, the senior from Mount Laurel, N.J., made 10 saves in net for the Bears. That was double of Limestone’s Shane O’Leary, who only had five saves in the match.

Limestone out-shot LR on both total shots, 36-35, and shots on goal, 23-20. The most effective quarter for the Saints was the third, where Limestone had eight shots on goal with its 10 total attempts.

Kyle Hatcher, Ryan Duncan and Sloan Steward each scored two goals for the Bears. It was the first NCAA Tournament appearance as a Bear for both Duncan and Steward, who are a transfer and freshman, respectively.

Limestone’s Zachary Terry and Chris Erneston IV each led the way in scoring with three goals. Although only playing two NCAA Tournament games, Erneston IV scored nine goals for Limestone.

LR had more turnovers than Limestone, as the Bears collected 17 in comparison to the Saints’ 15. The sloppiest quarter for LR came in the second, when it had six turnovers.

There were only four man-up opportunities in the contest, with each team getting two chances. LR was the only side to capitalize with a goal by Donovan Powell in the fourth quarter.

Despite winning today’s match, Limestone leads the all-time series, 10-8. At Moretz Stadium, LR now has a 4-4 record against Limestone. The Bears have won the past four meetings against the Saints on John David Moose Field. In NCAA Tournament games, LR has a 9-4 record.

This marks the first full season that the Bears have won every game in Moretz Stadium. Including today’s win, LR went 9-0 at home with seven regular-season wins and one SAC Tournament win.

This was the third-straight season that Limestone and LR squared off in the regular season, SAC Tournament and NCAA Tournament.

The Lenoir-Rhyne Men’s Lacrosse Team will travel down to face the No. 1 seeded Tampa Spartans in the NCAA Semifinals. The contest is scheduled for Sunday, May 19, at 1 p.m. When the two sides met in the regular season, the Bears defeated the Spartans, 12-9, in Savannah, Ga., on Feb. 17.