April 5, 2010

The Middlebury College men's lacrosse team fell to Colby for just the second time in 13 years, as the Mules took an early lead and held on for a 9-8 victory over seventh-ranked Middlebury on Alfond Field. The Mules improve to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the NESCAC with four one-goal wins. Middlebury also is 2-2 in the conference and is 4-2 overall.

Thomas Gianakos made 15 saves, including five in the final period when Middlebury was unleashing a lot of pressure. James Brady led the defense with seven groundballs, while Craig Bunker won 15-21 face-offs and had 11 groundballs.

Bunker won his first face-off of the day and scored six seconds into the game to give the Mules a spark. Mark Squicciarino tallied just 1:04 later to put Colby up for good at 2-0. The Mules led 3-2 after one quarter and then first-year John Jennings took over and scored the only three goals of the third period for a 6-2 Mule lead at intermission.

            The Mules appeared to take control when Squicciarino scored the second of his three goals on the day just 1:05 into the third period for a 7-2 margin. Middlebury would not go away, as they received goals from junior David Hild (W. Hartford, Conn.), rookie Erich Pfeffer (Glastonbury, Conn.) and senior Pete Smith (Wilton, Conn.) to cut the margin to 7-5 with 5:49 to play in the third.

Colby scored on its lone man-up opportunity of the day when Ian Deveau tallied with just 26 seconds to play in the third period for an 8-5 lead. Deveau then gave Colby another early goal in a period when he connected again on a pretty cross from Squicciarino with 13:24 to play for a 9-5 lead. Deveau finished the day with two goals and two assists.

            Neither team could manage a goal for the next nine minutes as Colby was on its way to the win. Middlebury battled back again as senior Bart Witmer (Greenwich, Conn.) scored with 3:53 to play. Sophomore Peter Jennings (Wellesley, Mass.) won the face-off and picked up the assist when sophomore Jack Balaban (Washington, D.C.) scored just seven seconds later to cut the lead to two.

            Middlebury made it three goals in a span of 59 seconds when Balaban scored again with 2:54 to play for a 9-8 Mule lead. The Panthers had a couple opportunities for the equalizer in the final minutes, but could not get another shot past Gianakos. Junior goalkeeper Ryan Deane (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) ended the game with nine saves for the Panthers.

• Men's lacrosse record: 4-2

• Up next: 4/7 vs. Amherst - 4:30, 4/10 vs. Bowdoin - 1:00