James Purpura, third-year VMI head lacrosse coach, continues to build the program up to its potential as the 2023 squad had its best season since 2008 with a 6-9 overall record.
With six wins on the year, VMI registered its most wins since the 2008 season (six) and most goals scored in a season (155) since 1997.
In non-play related news, VMI’s contest against Mount St. Mary’s March 29 became the first-ever lacrosse game to be broadcast on post.
Hartley Jordan ’23 ended the year with 102 points for his career, tied for 18th in all-time points in program history. Jordan’s 102 career points made him the 20th Keydet in program history to make the 100-point club. For his efforts, he was awarded a First Team All-MAAC selection at the end of the regular season.
When VMI defeated Wagner College April 12, the win marked Purpura’s 11th career victory at the helm, passing Jon Birsner and Brian Anken to become the third-winningest coach in the program’s 40-year history.
With two goals and one assist for the day against Marist in the season finale, Luke Rusterucci ’25 hit 54 points for the season—tied for 13th most all-time in a single year—and most in a season since Kevin Hill ’08 in 2008. With 24 assists on the year, he also tied Mason Ayers ’99 (1998) for the ninth-most assists in a single season.
Adam Norris’ 26, goalie, had 201 saves—sixth-most in a season in program history. Jack Rogers ’26 earned MAAC All-Rookie Team honors after serving as the team’s primary faceoff specialist for all 15 games, winning 171 of 338 faceoff attempts (.506) as a true freshman. He also picked up 72 groundballs during the year and caused four turnovers in addition to scoring three goals. He played a critical role in all of VMI’s six wins on the year.
In its season opener Feb. 4, VMI (1-0) earned its first win over the Detroit Mercy Titans (0-1) since the 2012 season and just the second all-time in seven attempts. The 14 goals were also the most VMI has scored against Detroit, topping the previous high of 11 from last season. With the win, VMI earned its second season-opening win in the past three seasons.
VMI earned its first 2-0 start to a season since 2019 by defeating Queens University of Charlotte by a 10-9 score in double overtime. The game was the first-ever meeting between the schools and also marked VMI’s first overtime win since the 2014 season.
Following VMI’s 20-10 win over Hampton Feb. 21, the three wins in February marked the first time in program history that VMI had tallied three wins during the month. For the first time since 2012, VMI played four consecutive games scoring in double digits.
With the win over Siena March 18, VMI logged its first win over the Saints since the 2008 season after Siena had claimed the previous five outings. The Keydets last competed in the MAAC from 2003–13, when the schools faced each other regularly as conference members.
VMI hit new milestones in its 11-10 OT win over Canisius April 1 as the Keydets earned their first conference road victory since 2012 (MAAC/A-Sun/SoCon), their first win over Canisius since 2009 to break a string of six straight losses ,and logged just their third win over the Golden Griffins in 17 all-time contests.
In a back-and-forth game that featured eight ties versus Wagner April 12, the Keydets took the lead on four separate occasions to earn their third MAAC victory of the season and sixth overall win of the year. With three MAAC wins on the season, VMI also matched its most conference victories since the 2008 campaign.
Purpura and the lacrosse staff have the program on an upward trajectory and look to build once more on its recent success.