Men’s Lax Beats Morrisville for Paige’s 100th Win
Keuka College men's lacrosse coach Jason Paige has built up the Storm into perennial contenders for the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) championship during his coaching tenure, winning the title in three of the last four years.
Paige, in his 15th season leading the Green and Gold, is Keuka's longest-tenured head coach, and after Saturday's impressive 14-9 win over arch rival Morrisville State, he earned win number 100 with the Storm.
Sophomore Cory Gray (Seneca Castle, NY/Midlakes) scored a career-high five goals and junior Connor Latimer (Whitby, ON/Genesee Community College) added two goals and three assists as the Storm picked up their third straight win.
Senior Mike Crumlish (Hilton, NY/Hilton) added two goals and two assists, sophomore Derek Pfeiffer (Lee Center, NY/Rome Free Academy) had two goals and one assist and classmate Anthony Luppino (Penn Yan, NY/Penn Yan) added one goal and three assists as Keuka outshot Morrisville State (1-5, 1-1 NEAC) 53-33.
After the game was finished, the members of the Storm presented Paige with a game ball from the milestone win, with the inscription "100 Career wins" on the ball, which was encased in a commemorative case.
"What this moment means to me is I've had excellent support here from the administration, my assistant coaches and my players over the years," said Paige, who sports a 100-75 record in Keuka Park.
"It takes a group effort and I'm just proud to be a part of it. I have a lot of respect for Morrisville and how they've built their program, and I know we'll see them down the road. This was a nice start to our league season, but first thing Monday morning we have to refocus on Hilbert (Keuka's opponent Wednesday night)."
Since the start of the 2004 season, Paige's teams have compiled a 78-42 mark with four 10-win seasons (including the past two seasons, when the Green and Gold claimed back-to-back NEAC postseason titles).
Junior Scott Miller (Penn Yan, NY/Penn Yan) and Justin Strain (Hamburg, NY/Hamburg) each scooped up six groundballs while Miller led a stout Storm defense, causing six of Morrisville's 29 turnovers.
Sophomore Eric Saltrelli (Webster, NY/Webster Schroeder) stopped 12 shots while juniors Zach Koczent (Geneva, NY/Geneva) and Kaisch Wheeler (Phoenix, NY/Baldwinsville) combined to win 15 of 25 faceoffs.
Crumlish and Strain each caused two turnovers, and the Green and Gold's attacking defense held the Mustangs scoreless for a period of 22 minutes spanning the second, third and fourth quarters. Morrisville did not score a goal during the entire third quarter while Keuka found the back of the net five times, with five different student-athletes scoring to turn a 7-5 halftime lead into a 12-5 edge.
"Defensively we played with a lot of heard, and when it was crunch time, Eric made some great saves for us," said Paige, who was inducted into Washington College's Athletics Hall of Fame in October after a stellar career where he was a three-time All-American after scoring 151 goals with 58 assists (209 points) in just three seasons.
"We did a great job starting up our transition and my middies did a great job getting into the attack. Morrisville is a great team and we had to work hard, this was a 60-minute game. Our offense faced a good challenge today but we worked hard, scored goals on broken situations and played high-intensity offense in the second half."
Morrisville scored first on David Middlemore's (three goals) tally just 42 seconds in, but Gray scored back-to-back goals, including a man-down score off a feed from Latimer to put the Storm up 2-1.
The teams traded goals, with Crumlish scoring a man-up goal off a feed from Latimer for a 3-2 lead, but the game was tied at three heading into the second after Middlemore scored with 3:40 remaining in the opening quarter.
Crumlish gave Keuka the lead back off a feed from senior Anthony Jones (Syracuse, NY/Corcoran) with 8:31 remaining before halftime, but one minute later, Jeremy Bunn's unassisted tally knotted the score at four.
Keuka closed out the quarter scoring three of the final four goals as Pfeiffer, Miller and Latimer all scored during the final 6:15 of the half. Pfeiffer and Miller staked the Storm to a 6-4 lead after scoring goals 34 seconds apart, but Louie Geswaldo answered to trim the lead to 6-5 with 1:21 remaining.
After sophomore James Voigt (Penn Yan, NY/Penn Yan) found Latimer slashing towards the goal, Latimer closed out the first-half scoring with his first goal of the contest, which came with 28 seconds left in the half.
Neither school scored over the first four minutes of the third until Luppino found Pfeiffer for a goal with 11:02 remaining in the quarter. That sparked the Storm on a 5-0 run as Pfeiffer, Latimer, Gray, Luppino and junior Brandon DeCaire (LaFayette, NY/LaFayette) each scored during the critical run. Gray and DeCaire scored just 15 seconds apart for an 11-5 lead before Luppino's first goal of the game extended the lead to 12-5 heading into the fourth.
Brendan Shannon scored back-to-back goals to pull the Mustangs within 12-7, but Gray answered with two more goals and Keuka held on to earn the milestone win for Paige.
Keuka scooped up 43 groundballs to 33 for the Mustangs.
The Storm host Hilbert College at 7 p.m. Wednesday night at Penn Yan Academy in a NEAC contest.