This past weekend April 13 and 14, the men’s lacrosse team faced off against Trinity College on Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium. The Panthers came away with a win against the Bantams, advancing to a 6-2 NESCAC record. Then, the team traveled to Skidmore to down the Thoroughbreads 12-5 on Tuesday, April 16, in a non-conference tilt to push its overall record to 10-2. The 12th-ranked Panthers will play two more regular season games and two more NESCAC games before the NESCAC quarterfinals begin on April 27.
“One of the team mottos that we’ve had over the years is ‘Do what we do,’” said senior tri-captain Stew Kerr ’13.
“Every time we step out on a field we try to play our game, no matter who the opponent is. That being said, we were definitely motivated to beat Trinity after losing a close game to them last year. I think that mentality was in our heads the entire game, and it pushed us to keep our focus even when Trinity made a comeback.”
After a back and forth start to the game, Middlebury shot ahead of Trinity at the 9:08 mark, with five straight goals. Mike Giordano ’13 started off the streak for the Panthers with and then continued shortly after to assist Kerr at 7:44. Giordano scored once again 22 seconds later, and was followed by goals from underclassmen Joel Blockowicz ’15 and Jon Broome ’16.
The Panthers held a very comfortable 8-1 lead over the Bantams in the second quarter. Broome tallied two goals followed by fellow first-year Steve Brown ’16 with one. Trailing by seven goals,
Trinity came back hard and brought the score back to 8-6, after a series of five quick goals.
The third quarter was more of a back-and-forth game, as both teams traded goals, maintaining a two-to-three-point score differential. The score stood at 10-8 when Giordano executed a tremendous wrap-around shot from behind the net with his left hand to score his third goal of the game with 0.4 seconds remaining, giving is team an 11-8 lead to end the quarter.
The Panthers started the fourth quarter off strong as tri-captain Billy Chapman ’16 grabbed the ball after the faceoff and scored unassisted. After trading goals back and forth, the score remained 14-10 with just over seven minutes left in the game.
Trinity was not going to give up and scored twice more before the game ended, bringing the score to a tight 14-12 finish. Middlebury’s defense stayed strong and the offense played smart as they let the time run out to ensure the two-point lead. With this close win over Trinity, the Panthers advance to 9-2, a record already far and away better than last year.
Broome tallied four goals, Giordano three, Kerr and Blockowicz two, Darric White ’14 one, Steve Brown ’16 one and Chapman one. Giordano, George Curtis ’14, Erich Pfeffer ’13 and Scott Redmond ’13 made assists for the Panthers in the close win.
Middlebury outshot the competition by 21 goals, picked up 26 more ground balls and won 21 out of the 28 face-offs.
“At this point in the season it’s easy to look ahead at NESCAC playoffs or NCAAs, but we’re really focusing on taking each game one at a time,” said Kerr. “All three left are big games, and we need to make sure that we are extremely focused in our preparation. We’d like to keep getting better every day and make sure that we’re playing our best lacrosse during these last few games.”
In its midweek tilt against out of conference opponent Skidmore, the Panthers used a dominant first half run to cement an 8-2 lead at the end of the first frame.
Despite allowing the game’s first goal just under three minutes into the contest, Middlebury came back with a 4-0 streak to lead 4-1 at the end of the first quarter. This included tallies from Kerr and Broome, with Andrew Metros ’13 netting two.
Broome went on to record three goals and an assist in the contest, stretching his team lead in goals to 33.
In the second quarter, Cal Williams ’15, Harrison Goodkind ’15, Broome and Pfeffer anchored another 4-1 Middlebury run.
The third quarter started in Skidmore’s favor, with two Thoroughbread goals bringing the home side to 8-4.
That’s the closest the host’s would get to the Panthers, however, as another four straight goals from Blockowicz, Kerr, Giordano and Broome would see the visitors to a 12-4 lead.
The Panthers will play Colby on Saturday, April 20 at home in their second to last NESCAC game before the playoffs.
The team, now with a record of 10-2, has already far surpassed last year’s 4-9 mark. The Panthers also sit at second in the NESCAC and have almost surely secured a spot for the upcoming NESCAC tournament — a clear improvement over last year’s absence.