Men's Lacrosse Ends Regular Season With Win At Williams
April 30, 2010
Middlebury finished off its regular season with a win as the Panthers earned a 4-3 win at Williams. The Panthers have earned the sixth seed for the upcoming NESCAC Tournament and will play at #3 Amherst in a quarterfinal game on Sunday at 2:30. Williams falls to 5-9 on the season and 4-5 on the NESCAC with the loss, while Middlebury moved to 9-4 on the season and 5-4 in the conference.
Eph Stephen Vrla and Panther Ryan Deane both had remarkable games in goal, as both finished with 19 saves. Michael Acierno opened the scoring with an underhand shot into the bottom right of the Panthers' net.
Middlebury's David Hild was able to respond for the Panthers fairly quickly, scoring with only 10:51 left in the quarter after curling around the left side of the Williams' net. The 1-1 tie held the rest of the period, though it was not without action, as the two goalies were called on to make 11 saves total in the period.
Williams started the first half with intense pressure on the Middlebury net, as the Ephs fired six shots on goal in the quarter's first 3:19, when the sixth shot found its way into the back of the Panthers' net. Richard Reuter scored in the second quarter to make the score 2-1 in favor of the Ephs. Hild fed Peter Smith on the crease for a man-up goal as Middlebury tied the game at 2-2.
Williams was able to reopen its advantage almost two minutes later, when Cranshaw cut from the back right of the Middlebury net. Cranshaw dove and fired at the net - but the shot was turned away by Dean. However, sophomore Mike Ryan was in the right place at the right time, as he picked up the rebound in front of the net and scored with 5:51 to play in the half. The teams looked as though they would enter the half with the Ephs up one, but Middlebury was able to score with three seconds left. An Eph turnover with about 30 seconds left allowed Middlebury to get the ball in transition, but Jeff Begin caught a pass from Smith and slung a bounce shot past Vrla with nearly no time on the clock to tie up the game 3-3 going into the half.
The Panthers took the lead with 8:15 remaining in the fourth, when Eric Pfeffer cut from the left and spun by his Eph defender and propelled the ball from point-blank range into the top left corner of Vrla's net.
The Ephs refused to fold down the stretch and found two particularly good opportunities to tie up the game. With 4:55 to play, sophomore Sam Hargrove fired a shot off of a pass from Cranshaw, but the ball hit the crossbar for the second time in the period when Dean nicked the shot on its way toward the net. Then, with two minutes to play, Acierno quick-sticked a pass from Ryan that was again turned away by Dean. That would prove the Ephs' last opportunity of the game; although they forced a Panther turnover with 40 seconds to play, the team gave the ball right back to their opponents, and Middlebury ran out the clock to claim the victory.
Hild and Smith each had eight groundballs in the game as Deane finished with 19 saves.