April 4, 2011

            Middlebury sophomore Erich Pfeffer (Glastonbury, Conn.) capped a second half Middlebury comeback, scoring a man-up goal with 6:38 left in the game, for a 6-5 victory over Washington and Lee in a non-league lacrosse tilt on Tuesday evening at Georgetown University. The seventh-ranked Panthers (4-1) held the Generals (6-5) to one goal over the final three quarters.

            The Generals opened the scoring at 11:22 of the first quarter when Jack Switala scored off an assist from Luke Heinsohn. Middlebury scored its first goal 10 seconds later, when senior Alex Giammarco (Medfield, Mass.) found the net, and then assumed a 2-1 lead on an unassisted tally by junior Peter Jennings (Wellesley, Mass.) six seconds later. The Panther lead lasted only 1:43 as W&L’s Spence Daw notched the equalizer, starting a three-goal W&L run for a 4-2 lead in the first quarter.

            Middlebury knifed the deficit to 4-3 when sophomore Mike Giordano (Ridgewood, N.J.) scored at 4:21 in the second quarter, but the Generals took a 5-3 lead on an unassisted tally by Drew Koeneman with 7:53 left in the half. That would be W&L's final goal of the game as the Panther defense held the Generals scoreless for the remaining 37:53.

            During their defensive stand, Middlebury strung together a trio of goals over the final 16:58 for their fourth-straight win in the series.  Senior Andrew Connor (Alexandria, Va.) scored at 1:58 of the third quarter, while junior Tim Cahill (Glastonbury, Conn.) drew Middlebury even at 9:24 of the fourth quarter with a goal off a Giordano assist. With Middlebury gaining a one-minute man-up opportunity with 7:37 left to play, Giordano found Pfeffer in the waning seconds of the penalty, for what proved to be the game-winner.

            Washington and Lee had several attempts for the tie in the final minutes. The Generals best scoring chance came on a point-blank shot by Cooper Brown with under 20 seconds remaining that was turned away by Middlebury senior goalkeeper Ryan Deane (Grosse Point, Mich.) preserving the one-goal win.

            Middlebury was paced by Giordano, who posted one goal and two helpers, as five others netted one goal apiece.  Deane recorded nine saves between the pipes. The Panthers outshot W&L 42-26, while winning 10-of-15 face-offs as Jennings and sophomore Brian Foster (Medfield, Mass.) each won five match-ups.

            With the game knotted at four-all at the half, Middlebury outscored Colby 7-2 over the final 30 minutes of play, for an 11-6 win at Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium on Saturday. The victory gives the seventh-ranked Panthers a 5-1 overall record, and a 3-1 mark in NESCAC action, as the Mules drop to 3-4 and 1-3 in conference play.

            Middlebury jumped out to a 2-0 first quarter lead, starting with a man-up tally by rookie John McGoldrick (Norwalk, Conn.) at 14:36 off a feed by senior David Hild (W. Hartford, Conn.). Conner added the second goal at 6:49 with a 15-yard laser from the right side. Nearly a minute later, Colby’s John Jennings, cut the lead to 2-1 on an underhand shot. Hild answered later in the quarter, on a left side dodge for a 3-1 lead.

            Hild set up a cutting junior Alex Englert (Wellesley, Mass.) for a 4-1 lead at 12:24 in the second quarter, but the Mules fought back, scoring the next three to tie the game. Bjorn Knutson answered Englert’s goal eight seconds later, while Ian Deveau took a Mark Squicciarino pass in for a goal at 6:57, capping an effective penalty kill. James Wyse scored the game-tying goal at 2:24, picking up a ground ball in front of the Middlebury cage and immediately flipped a dramatic behind-the-back shot past Deane.

            At the end of the first half, Middlebury held a decisive 29-15 shot advantage, grabbing 22 ground balls to Colby’s 11, while Deane made 11 of his season-high 17 saves in the first 30 minutes. Colby’s Craig Bunker was a force at face-off, winning eight of 10 first half match-ups.

            Middlebury opened the second half on a three-goal spurt, scoring the only two goals of the third quarter, including a nifty transition goal by Giammarco at 5:35. Conner capped the run on a cross-crease feed from Giordano for a man-up score at 14:29 of the fourth, for a 7-4 lead.

            The Mules bookended a pair of fourth quarter goals around a senior Sam Palmisano (Southport, Conn.) score, cutting their deficit to 8-6 with 9:39 left to play. But the Panthers put another three-goal string together for an 11-6 lead with 4:44 left to play. Hild scored his third goal of the game at 8:52 off a pin-point assist from Cahill from behind the net. On Middlebury’s next goal, Cahill was on the receiving end, as Giordano intercepted a clearing pass by Colby’s goalie, setting up the Cahill score. Giammarco ended the run on a transition goal at 4:44 for the 11-6 lead, which proved to be the final score.

            For the game, Hild added two assists to his hat-trick performance, while Conner and Giammarco netted a pair of goals and Giordano chipped in with two helpers. Deane earned the win in net, making a season-best 17 saves while collecting a team-high six ground balls.
• Men’s lacrosse record: 5-1
• Up next: 4/6 @ Amherst, 4/9 @ Bowdoin