April 26, 2010

The Middlebury men's lacrosse team saw its three-game winning streak come to an end as the #15 Panthers fell 10-5 at #8 Tufts on Saturday afternoon. The win for the Jumbos was just their second over the Panthers in the last 34 meetings between the schools. Middlebury wraps up its regular season with a game at NESCAC rival Williams on Friday.

            Sophomore Sean Kirwan scored two of his game-high four goals during a 5-0 opening run to lead Tufts. Sophomore goalie Steve Foglietta stopped 13 of Middlebury's 18 shots on goal in the game. Junior David Hild (W. Hartford, Conn.)  led the visitors with two goals.

            The Jumbos were up 4-0 at the end of the first period. Kirwan netted two of the goals, while junior D.J. Hessler had a goal and an assist. After Tufts sophomore Kevin McCormick scored at 10:09 of the second quarter making it 5-0, Middlebury got on the scoreboard when Hild scored at 8:23. However, Kirwan tallied his third of the game and the Jumbos went back up by five at 6-1.

            The Panthers finished the first half strong with goals by rookie Erich Pfeffer (Glastonbury, Conn.) and sophomore Tim Cahill (Glastonbury, Conn.) pulling them within 6-3. When junior Andrew Conner (Alexandria, Va.) scored the opening goal of the second half at 12:02, Middlebury trailed by two at 6-4.

            At this critical juncture, the Jumbos scored the next two, including junior long-stick middie Alec Bialosky's goal at 4:50 of the third for an 8-4 advantage. Middlebury's Hild made it a three-goal deficit (8-5) again, but Bialosky scored his second at 11:03 of the final period. Tufts would blank Middlebury in the fourth quarter, and added a goal by junior Ryan Molloy to finish it off.

            Foglietta was sharp all game for Tufts, making 13 saves to hold Middlebury to its fewest goals of the season. Bialosky added an assist and two ground balls to his game, while Hessler recorded a goal, two assists and four ground balls. Senior Evan Crosby had four ground balls defensively.

            Middlebury finished with a healthy 17-12 advantage in face-offs. Rookie Brian Foster (Medfield, Mass.) was 6-8, and sophomore Peter Jennings (Wellesley, Mass.) was 6-11. Sophomore Alex Englert (Wellesley, Mass.) scooped up four ground balls for the Panthers, while junior Ryan Deane (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) made 14 saves in Middlebury's cage.

            Trailing by two goals in the third quarter, Middlebury fired off five straight goals and held off Rensselaer, 9-6, in non-conference action at East Campus Stadium on Wednesday. With the win, the #15 Panthers improve to 8-3 overall, while the Engineers shoulder just their second loss of the season and are now 10-2.

            Rensselaer had the momentum to open the second half, battling back from a 2-1 deficit in the second quarter to take a 3-2 lead after 30 minutes of play. After goals from Pfeffer and Conner pushed the visiting Panthers ahead, the Engineers mounted a comeback with two goals in the final 4:25 of the half.

            Senior midfielder Paul Cerone, who scored with 14 seconds left in the first half, added his second tally at 10:35 of the third quarter, but Middlebury quickly took control of the game.

            Cahill started the rally at 7:15, connecting on a pass from Pfeffer in front of the net to cut the lead to 4-3. Senior Jeff Begin (Ipswich, Mass.) tied it at 4-all at 5:41, and back-to-back goals less than a minute apart from rookie Stew Kerr (Lake Forest, Ill.) and first-year player Scott Redmond (Essex Fells, N.J.) gave the visitors a 6-4 advantage after three quarters of play.

            Redmond opened the fourth quarter with a goal, but the Engineers fought back as senior Bryant Johnson collected a pass from junior Nick Billy to cut the deficit to two (7-5) with 7:41 left in the game.

            Middlebury tacked on a pair of goals minutes later and despite another tally from Johnson with 4:06 left, the Engineers were unable to even things up as the visitors played solid defense and controlled possession as the clock wound down.

            Led by a pair of goals from Cahill and Redmond, the Panthers extended their winning streak over Rensselaer to eight games, dating back to the 1998 season. Additionally, Begin and Pfeffer each recorded a goal and an assist. In goal, Deane moved to 8-3 on the season, stopping 12 shots. Jennings won 8 of 10 face-offs and picked up five ground balls in the win, while rookie Zach Driscoll (Concord, Mass.) had five groundballs.

            For RPI, which last defeated Middlebury on April, 21, 1971, Johnson and Cerone each scored a pair of goals. Billy added a goal and an assist, while rookie goalie James Manchester made 11 saves in just his second loss of the season. 

• Men's lacrosse record: 8-4

• Up next: 4/30 @ Williams, 5/2 - NESCAC Quarterfinals - TBA