FOXBORO, Mass. -- It wasn't Matt Lauria's fault, but for a fleeting moment late in the third period, Dowling's senior defenseman from Babylon was going to be tagged with a tough loss.
Tough because it hurts to get hit with a shot. Tough because it hurts even more when that shot deflects into your own goal. Tougher yet when it gives the opposition a 7-6 lead.
"You can't really help those. You just move on," Lauria said after the Golden Lions defeated Limestone, 11-10, Sunday to win the Division II national lacrosse championship. "It was a freak goal. It was a helpless feeling."
The rest of Lauria's game, however, was helpful. He anchored a defense that held Limestone, a team that beat Dowling, 15-7, on May 6, scoreless for the first 21:31. He played suffocating man-to-man defense on the Saints' leading scorer, Riley Loewen, holding him to one goal and one assist.
"I was relaxed and calm. I was just trying to neutralize their best players," Lauria said.
Loewen, like Shayne Jackson, an All-American for Limestone, is a Canadian player.
"It's all footwork when you play against the Canadians," Lauria said. "They have such good stick skills that if you commit, they'll slip right by you. They're just trying to bait you."
Jackson had a shot on goal in the final minute that Lauria ran down behind the Dowling cage. He wound up tossing it downfield as the clock ran out. The freak goal was forgotten in the euphoria of the program's first national championship.
"When we were freshmen, we all said we wanted to win one," Lauria said. "I was able to kiss the trophy on the field. That's when it all set in."