Men’s Lacrosse Falls to 1–2 in the Nescac

By IMRAN GANDA

In its first away game against a ranked opponent, the men’s lacrosse team (2–2) lost 13–10 to the No. 8 Wesleyan Cardinals (4–1) on Saturday, March 17, in Middletown, Connecticut. After trailing 8–4 at halftime, the Panthers cut the deficit to one goal in the fourth quarter, but the Cardinals scored the last two goals of the game to give Middlebury its second loss of the season.

The first quarter seesawed, as the Panthers had an answer for every Wesleyan goal. The hosts got on the scoreboard less than three minutes into the match, which Middlebury’s A.J. Kucinski ’18 matched 33 seconds later. The Cardinals restored a one-goal lead at the 6:43 mark. Michael McCormack ’19 had the answer this time when he scored just 26 seconds later, after assisting on the first goal for Middlebury.

After a Wesleyan goal with 2:37 remaining in the first quarter, it looked like Wesleyan would take a one-goal lead into the break, but Danny Jacobs ’18 found the back of the net with just four seconds on the clock to tie the game at three.

The opponents traded goals to start the second quarter, as Henry Riehl ’18 scored an unassisted goal to bring the score to 4–4.

But Wesleyan rattled off four unanswered goals in the latter half of the second quarter to take an 8–4 lead into the locker room, doubling its scoring output from the first 22:40 in a span of 7:40.

Middlebury emerged from the locker room rejuvenated and outscored the hosts 5–2 in the third quarter to cut the lead to one goal entering the final quarter. The Panthers scored back-to-back goals within the first 2:09 of the quarter to make their first move of the half. McCormack tallied his second goal of the game, and Wes Quinzani ’18 scored his first off a feed from Riehl.

Wesleyan came back with two goals of its own to restore its four-goal lead, but Middlebury ended the quarter with a flourish, producing three goals to make the score 10–9 entering the fourth and final quarter. Riehl scored the first two goals of the run, completing his hat trick, and Chase Goree ’20 stamped his name on the scorecard with his first tally to bring Middlebury within one.

Behind by only one goal, the Panthers put themselves in position to complete their comeback and earn their first road win. Wesleyan scored first in the fourth quarter, at the 11:23 mark. Four minutes later, Frank Cosolito ’18 drove home a powerful shot from 15 yards out to cut the lead back down to one, 11–10.

After goalie Chase Midgely ’19’s save with 7:43 left, Middlebury had an opportunity to tie the game. But Jacobs hit the post, and the Wesleyan netminder saved shots from Riehl and Kucinski to keep Wesleyan in front.

Then, Wesleyan scored twice in the final four minutes to seal its 13–10 victory over Middlebury. With the win, the Cardinals stayed undefeated in the Nescac. Along with Amherst and Tufts, they are one of three unbeaten teams left in the conference. Middlebury fell to 1–2 in the Nescac and stand in a four-way tie for sixth place in the conference.

Riehl’s three goals brought his team-leading total to 10, while McCormack bolstered his team-leading points total with two goals and two assists.

After playing in only one game last season, McCormack entered his junior campaign having played in only 16 games, scoring one goal and assisting on three in his first two years. This season, he has started in all four of Middlebury’s games, scored eight goals, and assisted on five more to lead the Panthers with 13 points.

After a mid-week victory on Tuesday, March 20, over Plattsburgh, the Panthers aim to rebound in the Nescac, as they head to Brunswick, Maine, to face the Bowdoin (2–2) on Saturday, March 24, at 1 p.m. Like Middlebury, the Polar Bears are 1–2 in the conference and lost 8–6 Conn. College earlier this month. Bowdoin’s other Nescac loss came in a 16–15 shootout with Amherst, who remains unbeaten in conference play.

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Men’s Lacrosse Falls to 1–2 in the Nescac