April 8, 2013

The Panther  men’s lacrosse team had a busy week, taking part in three games, two of them coming in NESCAC play. Middlebury opened a 10-3 advantage late in the second quarter and cruised to a 16-8 non-conference win over New England College (NEC) on Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium.

After four different Panthers scored to open the game, NEC responded with a pair of their own, setting the score at 4-2 in favor of Middlebury late in the first quarter. With the two-goal lead, sophomore  Chase Clymer (Katonah, N.Y.) put a nice righty shot past Pilgrim starting goalie Cody Kitson for a 5-2 lead at the end of one quarter.

Middlebury opened the second quarter in similar fashion to the first, scoring four straight goals for a 9-2 lead with 6:47 left in the half. Senior Zach Driscoll (Concord, Mass.) started the run, scoring his first career goal in 51 games, as the defenseman made a nice run to the crease for his ice-breaker. Familiar names followed for Middlebury as senior Mike Giordano (Ridgewood, N.J.), rookie Jon Broome (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) and senior Erich Pfeffer (Glastonbury, Conn.) scored in order for the 9-2 advantage. Senior Andrew Metros’ (Kings Point, N.Y.) goal for the Panthers at 4:42 was sandwiched around a pair of tallies by NEC, for a 10-4 game, before the Pilgrims’ Brian Gillis notched his second of the day with eight seconds left in the half, for a 10-5 game at the break.

Scoring slowed in the third as Middlebury added two goals, including Clymer’s second tally at 10:33. Later, NEC’s Adam Shute notched his second of his game-high four goals, making it a 12-6 game after three quarters. The Pilgrims opened the fourth with a goal at 10:17 before the Panthers strung together another four-goal burst, putting the game out of reach at 16-7 with 6:32 remaining. Sophomore Joel Blockowicz (Potomac, Md.) and Pfeffer each netted their second goals during the run.

The Panthers launched 57 shots in the game as Broome collected a hat trick, while Giordano added a goal with three assists. Blockowicz, Pfeffer, and Clymer each scored a pair, while Driscoll chipped in an assist to his one tally. First-year player Sean Carroll (Wilton, Conn.) tossed two assists, as Metros and senior Stew Kerr (Lake Forest, Ill.) chipped in with a goal and one helper each. Senior Brian Foster (Medfield, Mass.) had an impressive day winning 17-20 face-offs and nabbing six groundballs, while senior defenseman Billy Chapman (Greenwich, Conn.) gobbled up a team-best nine groundballs. Junior keeper Nate Gaudio (Cheshire, Conn.) earned the win in goal, playing 57:42, making seven saves, while senior reserve goalie Jack Rielly (Glen Rock, N.J.) played the final 2:18 without seeing any shots on goal.

Middlebury fought off a late Amherst charge, picking up a 10-8 road win on Saturday afternoon at Gooding Field.

Middlebury scored three times in 68 seconds and used a 4-0 second-quarter run to take an 8-3 halftime lead, but Amherst  would not go quietly, controlling the third period before Devin Acton struck twice in 91 seconds on either side of the frame’s end.

Broome netted a game-high three goals, including the eventual winner, as he answered Acton’s second tally early in the fourth to put the Panthers ahead to stay. With the Middlebury defense stopping numerous Lord Jeff attempts in the final frame, senior Scott Redmond (Essex Fells, N.J.) scored the visitors’ final marker with just 4:27 remaining as Gaudio made five of his 14 saves in the fourth to preserve the win.

Thomas Gilligan was nearly as effective in the Amherst net, matching Gaudio with 14 stops as the Panthers narrowly outshot the Jeffs, 49-44. In addition to Acton’s two goals, Jeff Izzo had a strong day for the balanced Amherst attack, tallying a goal and two assists as the only other Jeff with multiple points.

Eric Grein staked Amherst to an early lead, picking up a ground ball then beating the defense for his first strike of the year just over a minute into the contest, but junior George Curtis (Nashville, Tenn.) responded for the Panthers less than three minutes later and Kerr  made it 2-1 for the guests as he scored on the man-up off an assist from Carroll near the midway point of the opening period. Two minutes later, junior Spencer Macquarrie (N. Hampton, N.H.) continued the Panther flurry, but Ramsey Bates stemmed the tide off an assist from Izzo just one minute following. Curtis assisted Broome for the final tally of the first with 3:34 still on the clock.

Trailing 4-2, Amherst’s Quinn Moroney assisted his brother Patrick Moroney. Middlebury took over for the remainder of the frame, with Broome assisting Giordano six minutes in before goals by rookie Christian Johansen (Etna, N.H.), Broome and Blockowicz all within a furious span of just over a minute put the Panthers in the driver’s seat, 8-3, with 5:24 still on the clock.

With the guests’ lead at five, Amherst came out strong in the third, as Dylan Park struck two minutes in to cut the deficit to 8-4. After a long stretch of even play, Izzo took the reins for the Jeffs, assisting Kane Haffey with 6:10 remaining, then scoring two and half minutes later to make it a two-goal game.  With 1:24 left in the frame, Connor Crump found Acton before Amherst completed the climb back to begin the fourth as Duncan Morrissey won the opening face-off then fed Acton for a vicious sidearm finish to tie it at eight.

While Amherst could not get over the hump, the Jeffs finished with a 29-26 edge in ground balls and a 12-for-21 showing on face-offs thanks to Morrissey’s six grounders and 10-17 performance on the X. Rob Butko picked up five ground ball for the Jeffs, while Chapman, senior John Duvnjak (Manhasset, N.Y.) and Giordano each tallied five to lead the Panthers’ efforts.

Middlebury controlled the early and late portions of the game, but Tufts dominated more in the middle and came away with a 14-13 victory over the Panthers in a battle of NESCAC top 15 men's lacrosse teams on Sunday at Bello Field.

Dan Leventhal scored four second-half goals to lead Tufts, who won their eighth straight. The #4 Jumbos improved to 8-2 overall and 4-2 in NESCAC. Broome finished with three goals and an assist for #13 Middlebury.

The Panthers charged out to a 4-1 lead, with Broome's second goal of the first period giving them the three-goal margin with 2:57 remaining. However, Tufts scored an unlikely goal as time expired in the period. With 5.7 seconds on the clock, Matt Callahan flung the ball upfield from near the Jumbo goal. As the ball skidded through the Middlebury end, Jumbo Chris Schoenhut retrieved it and scored to pull the Jumbos within 4-2.

The goal seemed to give Tufts some momentum. They scored the first two of the second period and tied it 4-4 with a Cole Bailey tally at 11:02. Middlebury responded with three of the next four goals and led 7-5 after Blockowicz scored with 4:14 on the clock.

The Jumbos would tie the score at 7-7 heading into halftime, starting a 9-1 run that gave the hosts a 14-8 advantage early in the fourth. The Jumbos outscored the Panthers 6-1 in the third quarter as Leventhal scored three times and Beau Wood added two more. Leventhal's fourth of the game gave Tufts the 14-8 lead early in the final quarter.

Middlebury rallied in the final nine minutes, scoring five unanswered goals by five different players to pull within 14-13. The Panthers had a man-up goal by Redmond to start the run at 8:42 and then another by Kerr making it a one-goal game with 24 seconds remaining. On the ensuring face-off, Jumbo Brian Ruggiero got the win and Tufts was able to run out the clock.

Ruggiero won 16 of 29 face-offs overall in a strong performance. Bailey led Tufts with five points on two goals and three assists. Wood had a four-point game and Peter Bowers scored twice. Defenseman John Heard caused three turnovers and finished with five groundballs. Garrett Read also caused three turnovers. Goalie Alex Salazar recorded 13 saves.

Giordano added two goals and two assists to the Middlebury attack. Metros had two goals and an assist, while Blockowicz tallied twice. Driscoll was excellent defensively causing five turnovers. Gaudio made 11 saves in the game

Middlebury had a 47-41 final advantage in shots, though Tufts took groundballs 31-21. The Panthers capitalized on two of seven extra-man opportunities and held the Jumbos scoreless on their two man-up tries.

• Men’s lacrosse record: 8-2

• Up next: 4/13 vs. Trinity – 2:00