Men’s lacrosse falls in NESCACs

Men’s lacrosse (7-7, 5-4 in the NESCAC) fell 11-5 to Wesleyan (6-3, 12-3) in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC tournament on April 26 after a close 13-11 loss to Middlebury (8-1, 13-1) on the preceding Friday. The quarterfinal marked the end of the men’s season. The Ephs finished fifth in the NESCAC, and although the team struggled in the postseason, the men were able to clinch an outright Little Three title for the first time since 1999.

Williams arrived in Middletown, Conn. on Sunday for the second time in eight days to play the Cardinals in the first round of the NESCAC tournament. Knowing they had handily defeated the Cardinals 9-5 in their previous match-up, the men were confident heading into the game. The first period saw much back-and-forth action by both teams, but Wesleyan appeared to have the better offensive start, and the first period ended with a strong 4-0 lead for the Cardinals.

The Ephs increased their offensive efforts in the second quarter only to have the Cardinals continue to exceed their level of play. Both teams launched into a scoring frenzy as the Cardinals worked to extend their lead and the Ephs attempted to cover lost ground. Tommy Murray ’11, assisted by Sam Hargrove ’12, scored a goal 12 seconds into the quarter, and David Hawley ’11, assisted by tri-captain Kevin Connolly ’09, followed up with another one a minute and a half later. The Cardinals responded aggressively with two consecutive goals, but Hawley scored again at 5:23 into the quarter. Matt Cranshaw ’11 made the assist. Wesleyan’s offense picked up steam once more, scoring three more goals in a span of three minutes. With 2:20 left, Adam Benjamin ’10 assisted Hawley’s third goal of the game to slow the Cardinals’ momentum. Nevertheless, Wesleyan responded with another goal with 1:06 remaining.

The quarter ended 10-4 in Wesleyan’s favor. After a scoreless third period, Wesleyan scored four minutes into the fourth. Hawley returned the favor on an assist from Richard Reuter ’10 with 9:23 left, but Wesleyan’s defense held the sealed the game at 11-5.

Two days before, Williams arrived at Middlebury riding on six consecutive wins, and so the team’s weekend losses to the Panthers and the Cardinals made for an unsatisfying end to a solid season. The quarterfinal game against Wesleyan also signified the last collegiate lacrosse game for seniors Connolly, tri-captain Brian Morrissey ’09, Ryan Powell ’09, Eric Muller ’09, tri-captain Michael Gerbush ’09 and Elijah Weeks ’09.