April 27, 2009

The Panther men's lacrosse team will host the '09 NESCAC Championship on Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium this weekend. The Panthers will meet Wesleyan at noon on Saturday, while Bowdoin meets Tufts at 3:00 p.m. The winners meet in the title game on Sunday at noon.

Leading Amherst 1-0 after the first quarter, Middlebury went on a 6-2 second quarter run, pulling away from the Jeffs for a 16-7 NESCAC quarterfinal victory at Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium on Sunday. The second-ranked Panthers improve to 13-1 overall, while Amherst drops to 6-8.

Middlebury senior Mike Stone (Boston, Mass.) tallied the lone first quarter goal, bending around the cage for a quick wrist shot and the 1-0 lead. Stone and sophomore David Hild (W. Hartford, Conn.) built the lead to 3-0 in the second before Alex Fox got the Jeffs on the board at 8:58 on a man-up score.

Leading 3-1, Middlebury went on a four-goal spurt as four different Panthers scored during the run. Stone's third goal at 7:52 was set-up by a nice screen by senior Skyler Hopkins (Easton, Md.) as Stone rolled through for a top-corner lefty blast. Eleven seconds later, face-off senior Dave Campbell (Boise, Idaho), who won 14-21 match-ups on the day, gobbled up the groundball on the ensuing face-off and ripped a shot past Amherst goalie Matt Pietroforte for a 5-1 lead. Junior Chris Teves (Wellesley, Mass.) added his first of two goals of the day before Hild capped the run with a dodge in front of the crease at 1:48 for a 7-1 lead. The Jeffs responded late in the quarter when John-Thomas Milone slipped one past Panther senior Peter Britt (Summit, N.J.) with 15 seconds left in the half, cutting the Middlebury advantage to 7-2 at the break.

The Panthers tacked on three more to start the third, including a man-up score by Senior Matt Ferrer (Darien, Conn.) before Amherst's Thomas Foote took a Milone pass for an in-close goal, setting the score at 10-3 with 9:15 left. Both teams exchanged goals before Middlebury went on a five-goal run to put the game out of reach at 16-4. Teves got his second on a set-up by Stone to start the run at 3:00 in the third, as senior Flint Reilly (Winnetka, Ill.) scored his first career goal to end the run at 7:16 in the fourth. In the final minutes the Jeffs scored three goals highlighted by a tally and an assist by Luke Arnold, ending the scoring at 16-7 in favor of the Panthers.

Stone led all scorers with three goals and two assists for Middlebury, as junior Pete Smith (Wilton, Conn.) assisted on three and had one tally of his own. Hild collected a hat-trick, while four other Panthers had two goals apiece. Fox had two goals and an assist for the Jeffs, as Arnold scored one and set-up two others for Amherst.

Both starting goalies went 55:41 in front of the cage. Britt earned the win for Middlebury stopping 12 shots while allowing six goals. Senior Bill Zrike (Norfolk, Mass.) made his '09 debut, replacing Britt over the final 4:19, allowing one goal and making three saves. Pietroforte suffered the loss, allowing all 16 goals while stopping 15 shots. Sam Jakimo relieved Pietroforte for the final 4:19.

Trailing 8-2 in the third quarter against Williams, Middlebury went on an 8-1 run in the third quarter en route to a 13-11 victory at Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium on Friday.

Williams jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on goals by David Hawley and Michael Aclerno. Hopkins got one back with 7:25 left before Hawley tacked on his second for a 3-1 lead after one quarter.

Williams face-off specialist Corey Jacobs was superb in the first half, winning 8-10 opportunities, allowing the Ephs to build a 6-2 halftime lead. Sam Hargrove's underhand shot at 3:38 capped the scoring in the second set up by teammate Mike Ryan. Ryan was involved in the first two goals in the third, getting his second assist at 13:15 on a goal by Matt Crenshaw and scoring his second tally at 12:40, for an 8-2 Williams lead.

Middlebury's comeback started with a three-goal burst, highlighted by consecutive goals by senior Tom Petty (Newburyport, Mass.) 13 seconds apart including his second at 11:43. Stone added his second goal of the game before the Ephs responded with Hawley's third tally and a 9-5 Williams advantage at 7:31.

The Panthers continued to attack, pouring in five more goals in 6:41 of action. Pete Smith scored two in a row, highlighted by intercepting a pass right in front of Williams goalie Michael Gerbush for the easy tally. Ferrer got in on the two-in-a-row action, netting his pair at 2:23 and the game-tying goal with 56 seconds left in the third. Stone's laser from 10 yards out capped the impressive comeback, giving Middlebury their first lead at 10-9 with 15 seconds left in the third.

The Panther lead was short-lived as Jacobs won the ensuing face-off and scampered in for the 10-10 equalizer with 10 seconds left in the quarter. Williams regained the lead 11-10 at 10:29 in the fourth when Hawley, grabbing a groundball in transition, scored his fourth goal of the game.

On the ensuing face-off, Middlebury defenseman Matt Rayner (Andover, Mass.) collected a groundball and laced a bounce shot by Gerbush, tying the game at 11 all. Hopkins got the go-ahead goal off a nice driving feed from rookie Tim Cahill (Glastonbury, Conn.) at 7:37. With 3:56 left, Hopkins set up Petty on a cross-cage pass and a two goal cushion. The Panthers maintained possession of the ball for the final minutes, sealing the impressive comeback win.

Hopkins paced Middlebury with two goals and three assists, while Petty and Stone collected hat tricks and Smith scored a pair and chipped in an assist. Hawley paced Williams with a game-high four goals, while Ryan netted two and assisted on two others.

Britt earned the win in goal for Middlebury, making seven stops, while Gerbush suffers the loss despite making 15 saves for Williams.

Despite losing 20-29 face-offs, Middlebury out-shot Williams 51-27 and had a 53-36 groundball advantage. Additionally, the Panthers forced 10-19 failed Ephs clears, while converting on 17-19 clears of their own.
. Men's lacrosse record: 13-1
. Up next: 5/2 vs. Wesleyan - 12:00, Bowdoin vs. Tufts - 3:00 (NESCAC Semifinals)
5/3 - NESCAC Championship - 12:00