April 6, 2009

The Middlebury College men's lacrosse team won a pair of NESCAC road games last week to improve to 7-1 overall, 5-1 in NESCAC play. Middlebury won its fifth straight game as the Panthers picked up a 13-11 NESCAC road win at Amherst. Amherst's Tom McDonnel scored the first goal of the game less than two minutes into the first quarter, finishing off a feed from Brett Miller. Middlebury senior Tom Petty (Newburyport, Mass.) responded to score a pair of goals with 12:47, and 10:39, to play in the first quarter, putting the Panthers on top 2-1.

After over seven scoreless minutes, Miller scored to spark the Lord Jeff offense. Teammates Luke Arnold and Dan Routh followed suit, putting Amherst up 4-2 with less than a minute to play in the frame. Middlebury junior Pete Smith (Wilton, Conn.) scored with just one second to play in the first, cutting Amherst's lead down to 4-3.

The second quarter saw Middlebury out-score the Lord Jeffs 3-1, as senior Skyler Hopkins (Easton, Md.) put home all three of the Panthers' scores in the period. Hopkins finished with four goals on the day to match Petty's four scores for Middlebury.

Coming out of the half, Amherst quickly tied the game as Miller found Evan Redwood for a score on the doorstep. The score started a back-and-forth period that three times saw the Panthers answer Amherst scores. Middlebury closed the third with a goal from junior Chris Teves (Wellesley, Mass.), with just 12 seconds remaining on the clock, but Amherst's Tim Thornton and Miller scored back-to-back goals to give the Jeffs a 10-9 lead with 11:14 to play in the fourth.

The Amherst defense played tough, and held Middlebury off the board for nearly four minutes, before Petty put home a Smith feed to tie the game 10-10. The Panthers scored three more goals over the next three minutes, as Petty, senior Matt Ferrer (Darien, Conn.) and Hopkins put Amherst in a 13-10 hole. McDonnell added a score with 2:42 to play, but Amherst was unable to get possession again and close the gap any further.

Senior keeper Peter Britt (Summit, N.J.) made 11 saves to earn the win, while Amherst goalie Matt Pietroforte made 12 stops. Miller finished with two goals, and four assists to lead Amherst with six points in the loss. Smith dished out four goals to go along with one goal to lead Middlebury with five points.

Middlebury senior Mike Stone (Boston, Mass.) scored a career-high six goals as the seventh-ranked Panther lacrosse team survived a furious second-half rally from 13th-ranked Bowdoin in a NESCAC game on Saturday in Maine. The Panthers, who squandered a seven-goal lead and trailed with eight minutes remaining, improve to 7-1 (5-1 NESCAC) as Bowdoin (7-2, 4-1) falls in conference play for the first time this season.

Middlebury was outstanding in the early going, as face-off specialist Dave Campbell (Boise, Idaho) won eight off 11 draws in the opening quarter to spark the Panther offense. Tied at three apiece late in the first quarter, Middlebury rolled off seven straight goals, including three from Stone, to take a 10-3 advantage with 9:35 left in the second period. Bowdoin was able to trim the lead to 11-5 at the break thanks to a late transition goal from long-stick defender Bryan Holden.

The Polar Bear defense clamped down in the third quarter, and held Middlebury scoreless for nearly 15 minutes as they chipped away at the deficit. Owen Smith, Adam Tracy and Harry Ashforth all scored quick goals to open the third frame to cut the lead to 11-8. After Smith pushed the Middlebury lead back to 12-8, Bowdoin posted five goals in an eight-minute span to end the third and open the fourth quarter. Adam Tracy tied the game with 10:46 remaining and Cullen Winkler gave Bowdoin the lead when he found the back of the net with 9:09 to go.

Hopkins was able to bring the Panthers even with a score at 7:27, setting up a hectic final stretch. After a long Bowdoin possession resulted in a save by Britt, Middlebury took possession with under two minutes to play. Teves found Stone at the top of the circle, and the senior tri-captain stepped into a shot from 10 yards that ripped the twine with 1:04 remaining. Bowdoin was able to get the ball back with under a minute to play, but a late attempt by Rob Halliday was saved by Britt, sealing the victory.

Britt ended with 13 saves for Middlebury while McCampbell stopped 14 shots for Bowdoin. Hopkins posted three goals while Smith had two goals and two assists for the Panthers. The Polar Bears were led by a trio of goals from Winkler. Kit Smith had a pair of goals and an assist while Ashforth notched a goal and two helpers.
. Men's lacrosse record: 7-1
. Up next: 4/7 vs. Rensselaer - 4:30, 4/11 vs. Tufts - 2:00