D-II Men's Rewind: All Aboard the Hurst Men's Lacrosse Train


Chris Ryan has been the head coach of Mercyhurst since 2001.

This was an incredible weekend for fans of Division II men’s lacrosse.

A legendary D-II team has ascended, but not to the title game — to Division One. There is a new King in the North, and it’s the Mercyhurst men’s lacrosse team/train. In the south, another storied team sought to reach another title game but also fell to a conference rival. Lenoir-Rhyne is heading to Philadelphia after an explosive performance from its offense and a late comeback bid from Limestone that fell short. 


Kyle Hatcher had racked up a total of 12 points this season coming into the semifinals. He had missed some time, but a massive scorer he was not. That all changed against Limestone. With four goals and two assists, he led all scorers in the game. His first two goals on the day started a 4-0 run for Lenoir-Rhyne, and he added two more, plus an assist, in the fourth quarter alone. Lenoir-Rhyne never trailed, as the offense was a juggernaut all afternoon, and Hatcher was a major part of the action. Victor Powell deserves a mention here as well, as he was everywhere for Lenoir-Rhyne. Three caused turnovers and four ground balls on the day gave the Bears the extra possessions to keep the pressure on. 


Mercyhurst didn’t have to rely on one player to carry them through to the Division II final. A big part of that is because they received contributions on offense from nine different scorers. That’s impressive in a high-scoring game, but considering the final score was 11-10, it’s all the more remarkable. 


Le Moyne not getting the job done was a bit of an eye-opener. The Dolphins have had so many games this season in which they were only up by a goal, the opposing team tied it, and then they came right back over the top to grab back the lead. It was sort of their formula for success — not winning by attrition, but instead winning by systemic frustration. It seemed as if that was exactly how the semifinal with Mercyhurst was going to play out, right down to the goal exchanges happening like a Yankee swap in the fourth quarter. Even when Le Moyne had a timeout with 10 seconds remaining to tie it, it felt inevitable they would force overtime. But the Mercyhurst defense won out and played the ball tight to force a turnover down the alley.  


We can just keep piling on Le Moyne here. The upset was where the goals were coming from in their game. Seth Benedict and Kyle Caves were scoreless, which was very unexpected. On the Mercyhurst side, the leading goal scorers were Jeremi Phoenix-Lefebvre and Quinn Simonson with two goals each despite neither has been a primary scoring threat for the Lakers all year. Myles Hamm and Ethan Landymore were both quiet on the day.   


Simonson with a low-to-low missile out of a roll dodge that shook his man, beating the goalie to the near pipe. Simonson would later score on a bull dodge that knocked his defender all the way to the weight room. A pair of filthy finishes from the midfielder. 

Or this one.


Lacrosse is not a game of mistakes. If you watched the semifinal between Le Moyne and Mercyhurst, you can understand why lacrosse would earn the distinction. There were so many key plays that were hitched to turnovers — both good and bad — that it is impossible to ignore. 

A big part of that is that both teams were prepared to get after it in the middle of the field. Each team tried to get an advantage in transition, but by the time the second half started, it was apparent that this was a game that was always going to be decided by execution in settled sets. 

That’s a place where Le Moyne has shined all season, and they had their shot in the final minutes to do so once again. But it was not to be. The Dolphins head to Division I now with a bitter taste in their mouths, but the saddest part of that loss is that it’s the last time that head coach Dan Sheehan’s squad will play in Division II.


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