Men’s Lacrosse Looks Ahead After Comeback Falls Short

By Colby Morris, Senior Writer

This past weekend, the Middlebury men’s lacrosse team played host to visiting Colby College. In a crucial NESCAC game for the Panthers, the Mules bested the home squad to a final score of 13-10.

Colby started the game off with an early lead, going up 2-0 within the first two minutes. Henry Riehl ’18 scored to push the score to 2-1 and was assisted by A.J. Kucinski ’20 in man-up offense to bring Midd within one just three minutes into the game. The two teams then traded off goals as Kucinski scored to make the score 3-2. After a five minute scoreless drought nearing the end of the first quarter, Colby tallied two late goals to bring their lead to 5-2.

In the second quarter, Colby continued its hot shooting with two straight goals, holding a 7-2 lead with 7:11 left in the half. Matt O’Neal ’19 put the Panthers back on the scoreboard, followed eight seconds later by another clean shot by John Jackson ’18, bringing the score to 7-4. Colby closed out the half with another goal of their own, putting the score at 8-4 in favor of the Mules.

Colby came out firing again in the third quarter, scoring three in the frame while Midd managed just one goal: Riehl, assisted by Wes Quinzani ’18, put his second shot of the day in the back of the net. Middlebury, with their postseason hopes hanging in the balance, came out firing in the fourth quarter. Riehl scored two more consecutive goals, followed by two more from teammates Frankie Cosolito ’20 and Danny Jacobs ’20. Jacobs added one more goal at the end of the game, but two goals by Colby put the score out of reach, ending the contest at 13-10.

In the game, Riehl led the way for the Panthers with four goals, while Kucinski had a team high two assists. Chase Midgley ’19 played most of the game in goal, totaling 45 minutes in the net, while captain Will Ernst ’17 finished the game off in the final 15 minutes. Jackson and Jake Madnick ’20 won 17/27 total faceoffs on the day and Jackson also added a team high seven ground ball recoveries to lead the Middlebury team.

Riehl now sits at fourth place among the NESCAC scoring leaders at 43 and Kucinski is also in fourth place in assists with 30 in his first campaign for Midd. With just one game left to play, Midd sits in eighth place in the conference and needs either a win against Williams or for Colby to have lost last night to Bates on Wednesday. If either result happens, the Panthers will make the NESCAC tournament beginning on Saturday, April 29 and will likely play either Amherst, Wesleyan or Bates, depending on the results of this week’s contests.

Chris Bradbury ’19 said, “Coming off a tough loss and going into a must-win game against a historically and currently competitive team in Williams … we are looking to build on what we did at the end of the game against Colby by addressing certain areas of weakness during this week of practice … and to come out with a competitive mentality that will drive us into making a run at the NESCAC championship.”