Men’s lacrosse closes out season with loss to Middlebury

Men’s lacrosse (3-10, 1-9 in the NESCAC) closed out its season on Wednesday with a match-up against conference foe Middlebury. The contest remained close until the second half, when the Panthers went on a scoring run that gave them a strong lead for the rest of the game, which ended in a 14-9 Middlebury victory.

The men got on the scoreboard quickly with an unassisted goal from Colin Foster ’14 at 2:04 to gain a 1-0 lead. The score went back and forth, however: The Ephs quickly went down by one at 2-1 only to regain a 3-2 lead with goals from Andy Grabowski ’15 and Mericos Rhodes ’14. After two more goals from the Panthers and one from Michael Acierno ’12 on a man-down play, the first quarter closed out with the score tied at 4-4.

In the second quarter, Middlebury drew first blood, scoring two quick goals to catch the men off guard and snare a 6-4 advantage. Foster brought Williams back within one at 6-5 with another unassisted score. Although the Panthers rebounded with another goal, the Ephs recovered with a goal from Evan Dedominicis ’13 just about six minutes into the quarter to take a 7-6 lead. This marked the last score of the half, as both teams’ offense was quiet for the remainder of the second quarter.

The third quarter was more troublesome for the Ephs, as the Panthers went on a three-goal run to extend their lead to four. With the score 10-6 in the Panthers favor, the Ephs finally capitalized on a turnover forced by Colton Growney ’13 with just minutes left in the quarter. A successful clear attempt brought the ball back into the Panthers’ defensive end, where Michael Hellstern ’15 scored his first goal of the season, assisted by Steven Kiesel ’15. The goal made the score 10-7 in favor of Middlebury heading into the final quarter.

Despite some clutch goals in the fourth quarter, the men could not overcome their deficit in the face of Middlebury’s continued offensive drives. The Ephs quickly responded to a Panther score with an unassisted goal from Dedominicis, only to be thwarted by yet another Middlebury goal just over three minutes into the fourth for a 12-8 Panther lead. Gaining momentum, Middlebury went on to score two more goals before the end of the game. With the score at 14-8, the men only had three minutes to overcome a six-goal deficit. The Ephs ultimately finished the game with one last goal, a buzzer-beater from Grabwoski and assisted by David Doggett ’12. The game closed at 14-9 with Middlebury on top.

“The game was close in the first half with a score of 7-6 at halftime,” Head Coach McCormack said. “Unfortunately we couldn’t keep pace with them in the second half and a good Middlebury team out-executed us.”

The contest against Middlebury was the men’s last of the season. The Ephs will lose eight seniors to graduation: Acierno, Hargrove, Doggett, Mike Ryan ’12, Barry Frett ’12 and Charlie Gephart ’12 as well as tri-captains Greg White ’12 and Tim Goggins ’12.

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