TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The #4 Union College men’s lacrosse team used a strong third quarter to build up a lead and then held off a furious late game rally by #12/20 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the fourth as the Dutchmen picked up a big 12-9 Liberty League victory on Saturday afternoon at ECAV Stadium.
Senior Peter Burnes had yet another six-point game against a nationally ranked foe, leading all players with four goals and two assists. Classmate Kieran McGovern also had four goals with one assist, while fellow senior Hayden Frey added two goals and an assist for Union (11-1, 3-1 Liberty League), which improves to 11-1 for just the second time in program history (2019).
The Dutchmen controlled tempo for most of the opening quarter, winning all five faceoffs, grabbing 12 ground balls, and scoring three of the four goals to take an early lead. Burnes opened the scoring 58 seconds into the contest, then added his second of the game with 9:00 on the clock. After RPI got on the scoreboard soon after, McGovern notched his first of the day to give Union back a two-goal edge.
Rensselaer came back to knot the score at four with three of the second stanza’s first four tallies, including two goals in 10 seconds that tied the score. But senior Sam Byrne won the subsequent faceoff and Frey picked a corner to put Union back ahead, and Frey scored again in the waning seconds to put the visitors up 6-4 at the half.
The third quarter did not start well for the Dutchmen, as RPI won the draw and scored just five seconds in; however, it was all Union after that, as the visitors scored four unanswered tallies to take a 10-5 lead into the fourth. Burnes tallied his third when he deflected an outlet pass by goalie Joseph Perry and collected the ball to deposit into the net. Goals by McGovern and classmates Brian Davis and Keaton McCann followed, while the Union defense limited RPI to only four shots and completely stymied the Engineer offensive attack.
Things changed drastically in the fourth quarter, however, as Union turned the ball over multiple times and allowed the Engineers back into the contest. Four straight RPI goals made it a 10-9 game with 2:53 on the clock, but a third RPI faceoff violation gave Union the ball and a man-up chance, and McGovern buried a shot from Burnes to finally stem the tide. Sophomore Matthew Paolatto came up with another big win at the X to keep possession and, after draining almost the entire shot clock, Burnes capped the scoring with his fourth in the final minute.
Paolatto and Byrne were excellent on draws for Union on the day, with Paolatto winning 12-of-14 attempts and Byrne victorious on 8-of-11 chances. As a result, Union posted a massive 52-19 edge in ground balls, as the visitors did a great job of keeping and maintaining possession to limit RPI’s offensive opportunities.
Sophomore Dan Donahue only need to make eight saves – his lowest total of the season – to earn the win, as Union outshot RPI 44-31.
After playing five of the last six games on the road, Union will finish off the regular season with three games at Frank Bailey Field beginning on Wednesday with a 6 p.m. matchup against Skidmore College.

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Liana Bonavita
Griffin Haas
Jared Phillips