Limestone, Le Moyne bid to take last step

Division II finalists want no more disappointment

College Lacrosse

May 30, 2004|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

From the standpoints of Limestone and Le Moyne, today's Division II championship lacrosse game is for a title they should be defending.

Last year, Limestone came to Baltimore hoping to follow up on its 2002 national title, only to head back to Gaffney, S.C., with a 9-4 loss to New York Tech.

Just the week before the Saints' defeat, Le Moyne's Dolphins led Tech by a goal with one minute remaining in the national semifinals before being penalized for an illegal stick. That led to a game-tying goal, followed by the end of Le Moyne's season.

But such disappointments can sweeten the dessert for a pair of teams that combined for one loss this season. Neither has lost to a Division II team in 2004.

"We lost in heartbreaking fashion last year," said Dan Sheehan, in his sixth year at Le Moyne, which is in Syracuse, N.Y. "So for this team to get back this far, hats off to our kids."

But though unfinished business drives both teams, their identities couldn't differ more.

Led by sophomore defender Travis Tarr, Le Moyne (15-0) has made its name with a stubborn defense, shown by an average of 4.73 goals allowed.

Conversely, Limestone (15-1) has an offense that has averaged nearly five times that number of goals.

For the Saints, whose only loss came to Division I tournament qualifier North Carolina, the scoring distribution is far more diffuse than in T.W. Johnson's first two seasons as the school's coach, when he had All-Americans Nick Carlson and Devan Spiker.

"A lot of our offense went through them in the first two years," Johnson said. "We went into this year wanting to create a more balanced attack. Any day, it can be a different player. That has been harder to defend."

Many eyes may focus on David Wooster, Limestone's sophomore attacker and a former Annapolis star, who scored five goals against Mercyhurst in the semifinals May 22.

Wooster's performance came two days after he lost his father to lung cancer, and between two trips back to Annapolis to be with his family.

"He's got a true family in Maryland, and he has a family down here," Johnson said. "The team rallied around him Saturday, and it will be the same thing when he comes back."

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