Recap of the 2023 NAIA Men's Lacrosse Invitational Final and All-Tournament Team
PENSACOLA, Fla. – [SCHEDULE | BRACKET] Keiser (Fla.) never trailed in the contest and netted ten second-half goals to pull away from Indiana Tech en route to capturing the Seahawks first NAIA Men’s Lacrosse Invitational Red Banner with a 15-8 win Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Seahawks become one of three teams to win an invitational title in men's lacrosse.
Keiser struck first as Cole Stassi found AJ Badik in front of the cage for the contest's first goal just two minutes into the opening quarter. Both goalies tallied a save over the next three minutes to keep the score at 1-0 five minutes into the contest. Indiana Tech took advantage of a Seahawks penalty as Samuel Bodley dodged toward the crease and put a shot just inside the far post for a man-up goal that evened the score at one. The score did not change again until the 4:15 mark when Stassi of Keiser connected with Badik for the second time to put the Seahawks back in front on the scoreboard. Keiser extended their lead one more as Jack Gillen found Vincent Cerasuolo in transition for a goal to make it 3-1 at the end of the first quarter.
Just over a minute into the second quarter, Stassi of Keiser found Badik, who ripped a shot from 20 yards out, to complete his hat trick and make it 4-1. Payton Kelm of Indiana Tech won the next faceoff for the Warriors where Emmett Coleman found Nate Langille who netted a bouncer to cut the Warriors scoring deficit to two goals with 12:58 remaining in the second quarter. Both defenses stepped up as they contested every shot and held the score at 4-2 until the closing seconds of the half when Badik of Keiser dodged in and snuck a well-placed shot just inside the post to give Keiser a 5-2 lead at the break.
The teams traded possession at the start of the third quarter until Keiser scored two unanswered goals in 39 seconds to extend the Seahawks lead to five goals with 10:47 remaining in the third quarter. Indiana Tech looked to cut into the lead; however, Christian Tomei of Keiser made his tenth save of the game and on the ensuing transition found Jack Gillen for a goal to make it 8-2 Keiser. The teams traded goals before Gillen of Keiser netted his second goal of the quarter to give the Seahawks a 10-3 edge to close the third quarter.
Keiser extended its lead to 13-3 with three goals in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter. The Warriors battled back as Coleman tallied his second point of the game on an unassisted goal midway through the period. Indiana Tech then added a trio of goals over the next three minutes to cut the scoring difference to six points with 5:01 remaining. The teams traded goals before Stassi of Keiser connected with Gillen for a man-up goal and the 15-8 final.
AJ Badik led the way for Keiser with a tournament-best eight goals in the win. Jack Gillen added four goals and two assists, while Cole Stassi dished out a tournament-best seven assists in the win. Cam Provines went 18-23 on faceoffs and scooped 12 ground balls, while Kylle Epstein tallied three caused turnovers. Christian Tomei made 14 saves between the pipes in the win.
Emmett Coleman and Samuel Bodley of Indiana Tech both tallied a pair of goals. Sam Anderson scooped a team-high six ground balls, while Grant Seaman notched two caused turnovers and a pair of ground balls.
Kyle Twobulls made 11 saves in the cage for the Warriors.
For more information about the NAIA Men’s Lacrosse Championship click here.
2023 NAIA All-Tournament Team
Tournament MVP: AJ Badick, Keiser (Fla.)
Samuel Bodley, Indiana Tech
Chase Jackson, Webber International (Fla.)
Tanner Popovich, Cumberlands (Ky.)
AJ Badik, Keiser (Fla.)
Emmett Coleman, Indiana Tech
Jack Gillen, Keiser (Fla.)
Tom Piotrowski, Indiana Tech
Cam Provines, Keiser (Fla.)
Sam Anderson, Indiana Tech
Jackson Marshall, Keiser (Fla.)
Christian Tomei, Keiser (Fla.)