The lowest-scoring championship game in the history of the NCAA men's lacrosse tournament delivered few goals, and a bizarre one at the end.
Le Moyne, of Syracuse, N.Y., repeated in Division II and won its third title in four years yesterday, when a tipped pass from Mike McDonald turned into the winning goal with one second remaining for a 6-5 victory over Mercyhurst at M&T; Bank Stadium.
Le Moyne (15-2) was the only team to beat Mercyhurst in the regular season, in overtime, at the Lakers' home in Erie, Pa.
Mercyhurst (13-2) was pulling for another overtime when it called time with seven seconds remaining and the Dolphins in possession to the left of Mercyhurst goalie Jason Lashomb.
Wanting to go "strength on strength," Mercyhurst coach Chris Ryan put defenseman Joe Thon on McDonald, whose two goals made him a repeat choice as the game's Most Outstanding Player.
Thon tried to force McDonald low, but he instead moved toward the top of the attacking area, while teammates Nick Gatto and then Brian Cost cut from the opposite wing in front of Lashomb, obscuring his vision.
None of it was designed.
"I pride myself on not over-coaching these guys," Le Moyne coach Dan Sheehan said.
Twelve yards out and using his left hand, McDonald sent the ball toward the goal. Was it a shot, or a pass?
"A little bit of both," McDonald said. "The intent was initially to shoot, but then I tried to make a pass. It was a harder pass than usual. It may have been tipped."
That it was, off Cost's stick. Slightly redirected, it bounced off the turf and inside the right post, past a lunging Lashomb.
"That errant pass, that's what it takes to get [one] by him," Ryan said. "Jason is a terrific goalie, and a much better person. He carries a 3.8 GPA. My 15-month-old son loves him, so he must be a pretty good guy."
Mercyhurst, which began sponsoring men's lacrosse in 1997, got two goals from Scott Janssen.
Through three periods, Le Moyne had more turnovers than shots, but Mercyhurst attempted just one shot in the fourth.
"Today wasn't pretty, but this time of year, it doesn't matter," Le Moyne coach Dan Sheehan said.
Le Moyne 2 1 1 2 - 6
Mercyhurst 2 1 2 0 - 5
Goals: L-McDonald 2, Billy, Cassalia, Cost, Gale; M-Janssen 2, Lindner, Osier, Thon. Assists: L-Billy, Welch; M-Bartlett 2, Mulherin, Thon. Saves: L-Corcoran 8; M-Lashomb 5.