April 13, 2009

Senior Mike Stone's (Boston, Mass.) goal at 6:03 in the fourth proved to be the difference, giving Middlebury an 11-10 victory over Tufts on Saturday at Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium. The Jumbos had two opportunities to tie the game in the final minute, but were denied the equalizer. In the battle of two nationally ranked teams, the fourth-ranked Panthers improve to 9-1 and 6-1 in NESCAC play, while #10 Tufts drops to 9-2 overall and 5-2 in conference action. With the win, Middlebury takes over sole possession of first place in the conference.

The evenly played first half saw the Panthers take the lead on five separate occasions, only to see Tufts battle back to tie it up four times, including Clem McNally's goal, knotting the score at six-all with 3:52 left in the second quarter. Middlebury answered with a pair to end the half, including rookie Tim Cahill's (Glastonbury, Conn.) third goal of the season, set up by an excellent pass from Stone for an 8-6 lead at intermission

The Panthers built their lead to 9-6 in the third when Stone scored on a move towards the cage at 11:32. The Jumbos got a pair back, as Kevin Williams scored off a nifty move to his right and set up the other goal on a man-up tally by Matt Witco. Senior Skyler Hopkins (Easton, Md.) ended the third with his 18th goal of the season, with a lefty shot coming off a driving move to his right for a 10-8 lead.

Tufts cut the lead to one when McNally netted his 35th on the year at 8:58 and tied it for the fifth and final time when Williams notched his second of the day with 7:04 left in the game. Nearly a minute later, Stone collected his hat trick on another driving move to the crease, for the 11-10 lead.

With the clock winding down below 30 seconds to play, the Jumbos attacked the net, but Peter Britt (Summit, N.J.) made a key save on a Chase Bibby shot. Middlebury failed to clear the ball, setting up a low-post move by D.J. Hessler, the NESCAC's leading scorer, but Hessler committed a crease violation with :04 remaining, turning the ball over and sealing the win for Middlebury.

Stone led all scorers with three goals and one assist, while Hopkins add a pair of goals for Middlebury. Six other Panthers had solo tallies, including rookie Alex Englert's (Wellesley, Mass.) second career goal. McNally led Tufts with a hat trick and Williams netted a pair and assisted on a third, while Ryan Molloy scored two and Hessler assisted on two more.

Britt earned the win, stopping 12 shots while allowing 10 goals, holding the number one scoring team in the NESCAC to six fewer goals than previously averaged (16.22/game). Matt Harrigan suffered the loss, letting up 11 goals and making 13 saves.

Stone's six goals tied his freshly-minted career-high set three days previous, to lead Middlebury to an 11-6 victory over Rensselaer on Tuesday at Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium. The six goals allowed was a season-best for the Middlebury defense as Britt stopped 13 shots en route to the win.

Middlebury jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first quarter, capped by a pair from Stone, including his second tally at 12:50. The Red Hawks got on the board with 5:31 left when Austin Ray, standing point-blank in front of Britt, faked high and shot low for the score.

In the second, sophomore David Hild (W. Hartford, Conn.) scored a man-up goal at 14:43 off a great low to high feed from Hopkins before Stone netted his third with 12:47 on the clock for a 5-1 lead. Just one minute later, Ray cut the advantage to 5-2, collecting a pass by Nick Billy from behind the cage. The Red Hawks replaced starting keeper Ryan DeJordy with back-up Angelo Luppino. Stone quickly solved the new keeper, scoring his fourth goal before Rensselaer added a pair to end the half, including Paul Cerone's first of his game-high three tallies, cutting the Middlebury advantage to 6-4 at intermission.

Hopkins added a goal less than a minute into the third quarter for a 7-4 lead. Neither team could muster a goal for over 10 minutes, before Cerone's second goal with 3:55 left. The Panthers exploded for three scores in the final three minutes, as senior Dave Campbell (Boise, Idaho), senior Tom Petty (Newburyport, Mass.), and Stone each tickled the twine, building a 10-5 lead after three quarters. Each team added one goal in the fourth as Cerone netted his hat trick at 13:30, while Stone capped the scoring with his sixth tally of the game with 8:15 remaining.

Stone led all scorers with six goals while collecting an impressive nine ground balls. Petty added a pair as Hopkins chipped in a goal and an assist. Campbell collected a game-high 10 ground balls, won 11-18 face-offs and scored a goal for Middlebury. Cerone's three goals paced Rensselaer, as Ray netted two and Billy assisted on two others.

Britt stopped 13 shots on the day to earn the win for Middlebury. Luppino is credited with the loss, allowing six goals over 42:20 while making eight saves for the Red Hawks. DeJordy made one save, allowing five scored over 19:20 of action.
. Men's lacrosse record: 9-1
. Up next: 4/14 @ Skidmore, 4/18 @ Trinity