Lenoir-Rhyne 20 Mercyhurst 5
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — In one of the most dominant performances in NCAA Championship history, the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears captured their first National Championship with a convincing win over Mercyhurst on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Stadium. The Bears scored the first six goals of the game and held a 14-1 lead at the half to cruise to victory. The Bears become the first No. 5 seed to ever win a National Championship and did so by winning its final three games of the tournament by a combined 28 goals. The 15-goal margin of victory is the second-largest in NCAA Division II National Championship game history.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP
Final: #5 Lenoir-Rhyne 20, #7 Mercyhurst 5
Records: #5 Lenoir-Rhyne (18-3), #7 Mercyhurst (16-3)
Location: Philadelphia, Pa. | Lincoln Financial Stadium
STATS OF THE GAME
It was all LR from the outset as the Bears scored six unanswered in the first quarter and held an 18-6 advantage in shots in the first 15 minutes.
Evan Voss got the Bears on the board with his 26th of the season and ninth of the NCAA Tournament on an unassisted goal.
Jarrett Huff made it 2-0 and Bryce Reece put the Bears up three.
Seay, Reece and Voss closed out the quarter with goals to make it 6-0.
Mercyhurst’s Quinn Simonson scored his 16th of the year to stop the bleeding and make it 6-1 but the Bears had a dominant response.
LR closed out the first half with eight unanswered goals to make it 14-1 at the break.
Defenders Nate Ashley and Victor Powell scored in the 8-0 run and Seay notched a pair of goals.
Kyle Hatcher closed the first half scoring with an assist from Tommy Aguilar and the Bears tok a 13 goal lead into halftime.
The Lakers started the second half with a 4-1 scoring run to cut the lead to 15-5 but the Bears defense held Mercyhurst scoreless for the final 24:15 of the game
Voss, Toron Eccleston, Seay, Huff and Will Canata found the back of the net for the final five goals as LR won by 15.
The Bears held a dominant 54-31 edge in shots and went 21-of-22 on clears.
Nine different players scored for LR, led by four each from Seay and Voss.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
This was just the second all-time meeting between Mercyhurst and Lenoir-Rhyne.
Greg Paradine adds a National Championship as a coach to his 1991 National Championship as a member of the North Carolina Tar Heels men’s lacrosse team.
Road warriors in the Tournament, the Bears traveled over 1,900 miles to win its four tournament games and were the designated road team in all four contests. Only the 2019 Merrimack team accomplished the same feat.
Rob Pensabene made 14 saves to finish with 56 saves in the NCAA Tournament, one shy of the tourney record of 57 which has stood since 1977.
The eight goals in the second quarter were the most in a single quarter during the Division II NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Game since UMBC also had eight against Adelphi in 1980.
Huff netted his first career hat trick and 11 players recorded at least one point.
LR shut out Mercyhurst in the first quarter, the seventh team the Bears blanked in the first quarter this year.
The Bears broke the program record with their 18th win. LR went 11-3 against teams ranked in the USILA Top 20 poll.
Voss was named the Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
LR held opponents to just 33 goals in four NCAA Tournament games.
The 20 goals are the fourth-most in a National Championship game in D2 history.
Only two teams have held opponents to less than five goals in National Championship history at the D2 level.
The Bears claim their first National Championship and just the second men’s National Championship in the 102 year history of LR Athletics. Only the 1960 football team who claimed an NAIA National Championship join the 2023 men’s lacrosse team in national championships.
Photo: Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics