March 15, 2010

The Middlebury College men's lacrosse team opened up its season with a 9-6 NESCAC victory at Bates on Saturday afternoon. Middlebury junior goalkeeper Ryan Deane (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) had a huge day for the Panthers, making 20 saves, including approximately five from point-blank range. Junior David Hild (W. Hartford, Conn.) led Middlebury in scoring with two goals and one assist, while junior Andrew Conner (Alexandria, Va.) added two goals.

Bates senior David Barrett scored three goals to lead the Bobcats (3-1, 0-1 NESCAC). Bates outshot Middlebury by a 57-36 margin, including a 26-21 edge in shots on goal, and missed some choice scoring opportunities in the second half that prevented the Bobcats from cutting into Middlebury's lead more quickly. The Panthers dominated face-offs, winning 15 of 19, including a 13-of-17 effort by first-year Brian Foster (Medfield, Mass.).

The Panthers got out to a 2-0 lead in a frustrating first minute of play for the Bobcats. Middlebury senior Matt Virtue (Rye, N.Y.) scored with 14:18 on the clock on an assist from senior Pete Smith (Wilton, Conn.), who had forced a Bates turnover and collected the ground ball.

The ensuing faceoff saw the ball travel all the way to the Bates circle before being flipped from sophomore Alex Englert (Wellesley, Mass.) to sophomore Jack Balaban (Washington, D.C.) for a surprise goal and a quick 2-0 lead.

Barrett personally got even with the Panthers with a pair of unassisted goals at the 8:07 and 4:05 marks of the first quarter, which ended in a 2-2 tie.

Hild netted his first goal less than two minutes into the second period, but rattled in his third goal from an extreme angle on the left side, and the ball struck both pipes before landing in the net behind Deane.

The Panthers answered less than a minute later, winning the faceoff and scoring at the 8:38 mark with an unassisted tally by Conner. The goal started a decisive 5-0 run for Middlebury: Englert scored unassisted at the 6:18 mark, followed by a Smith goal at the 5:28 mark to make it 6-3. Hild added another unassisted tally with one minute on the clock for a 7-3 halftime lead.

The third quarter was the most frustrating for Bates, with three point-blank misses amid 17 shots taken, the most of any period, none of which found the net. Middlebury was able to increase the lead three seconds into a man-up opportunity when Conner scored on an assist by Hild, after an offside call went against the Bobcats.

Junior Rory Cosgrove broke Bates' 26-minute-plus scoring drought with an unassisted tally with 8:37 to play. Middlebury answered after winning the ensuing faceoff as senior Jack Masur (Bethesda, Md.) assisted sophomore Tim Cahill (Glastonbury, Conn.) at the 7:23 mark.

Bates gave Middlebury a late run, netting two goals in the final 40 seconds, one by senior Nick Sampson on a Cosgrove feed, and first-year C.J. Schmidt scored his first goal of the season with 29 seconds to go, ending the scoring at 9-6.

• Men's lacrosse record: 1-0

• Up next: 3/17 @ Springfield - 5:00, 3/20 vs. Wesleyan - 1:00