Adelphi men's lacrosse falls to Le Moyne in NCAA semifinal

Adelphi University's Gregory Puskuldjian, right, and Le Moyne Adelphi University's Gregory Puskuldjian, right, and Le Moyne College's Cameron Fedish battle for possession of a faceoff during the fourth period of the NCAA Division II men's lacrosse semifinals at Adelphi University. (May 18, 2013) Photo Credit: James Escher

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Adelphi scored plenty of style points Saturday, with Sal Tuttle leading a parade of shooters and scorers in an up-and-down-the-field game that delighted a spirited crowd at Adelphi's Motamed Field in Garden City.

But the Panthers surrendered plenty of stylish goals, too, and, truthfully, that really isn't their style. Adelphi, the fourth-stingiest defensive team in the country, ultimately couldn't keep up with Le Moyne, which raced to a 16-13 victory in an NCAA Division II semifinal men's lacrosse game.

"Some of it was pretty to watch for the fans, but maybe not for me," Adelphi coach Gordon Purdie said. "They surprised us with their fast-break ability after faceoffs and their transition goals."

Tuttle, the former Farmingdale star who sat out last year as a redshirt at Hofstra before transferring, scored five goals and added two assists for the Panthers, who finished 14-3. The Dolphins (17-2) will face Mercyhurst next Sunday in Philadelphia for the D-II national championship.

"It just didn't fall our way," said Tuttle, who scored two goals in the first seven minutes as the Panthers built a 3-0 lead. But Le Moyne rallied to take a 7-6 halftime lead, which it expanded to 12-9 after three and 13-10 early in the fourth. That's when it got interesting for a near-capacity crowd of 756, many of them from Le Moyne, located in Syracuse.

Tuttle assisted on fellow Daler Patrick Starke's goal and Robert Rossi (Plainedge) scored his second of the game to make it 13-12 with 5:19. "That was awesome. The adrenaline was going, the crowd was pumped up," said Tuttle, who finished his first collegiate season as the team's leading scorer with 51 points, including a team-high 29 goals.

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But the Dolphins won the ensuing faceoff, ran some clock and then ended the Panthers' title quest with two goals in 10 seconds to make it 15-12, including Andrew Chadderdon's fifth. Kevin Kelly also scored five for Le Moyne.

"We gave up some shots we're not used to giving up," Purdie said. "Hands-free shots, where we slid too early on fast breaks."

Tuttle had a couple of clean looks himself, scoring two goals in 1:34 in the third quarter to cut it to 10-9. "Today I had the opportunities to score," he said. "Other days, it was someone else."

"Sal was the Northeast-10 Rookie of the Year and today you saw why," Purdie said. "He was a playmaker for us and a big reason we hung around as long as we did."

It was fun . . . while it lasted.

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