Last Wednesday, men’s lacrosse (5-8, 3-7 in the NESCAC) saw its season come to a close in a nail-biting 15-14 loss to Middlebury. The game was extremely competitive and was a great showing for the Ephs; the Panthers came into the game with an 8-2 NESCAC record as opposed to the Ephs’ own record of 3-7 within the NESCAC.
The Ephs started the game off on the right note, possessing the face-off and scoring the first goal of the game at the hands of Colton Growney ’13. The goal came with 13:25 left in the first quarter. The rest of the first quarter was action-packed, though the competition was evenly matched. The Ephs saw another goal by Growney in the first quarter, along with one each from Peter Crane ’16 and Tucker Dayton ’14. The Panthers and the Ephs went into the second quarter matched 4-4.
The second quarter followed much like the first. The play continued to be very competitive, with groundballs and turnovers resulting in crucial opportunities for each team. Williams started out the second quarter with a goal by Steven Kiesel ’15, assisted by goalie Dan Whittam ’15. Middlebury responded strongly to Kiesel’s goal, retaliating with three goals of its own in the next five minutes, bringing the score to 7-5 in Middlebury’s favor. However, the men found the back of the net twice more in the second quarter with goals from Conor Roddy ’16 and Colin Foster ’14. The 7-7 score at halftime demonstrated the intensity and even match-up of the game.
Following the half, the Ephs began to fall behind the Panthers. The third quarter brought five goals for Middlebury and only one goal for Williams. Two defensive penalties in this quarter by Williams gave Middlebury a man-up situation that led to a goal. The third quarter ended with Middlebury up by four goals, 12-8. Dayton was the only Eph to score a goal in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter of the contest seemed like an entirely different game for the Ephs. Despite a Middlebury goal a minute and a half into the quarter, Williams responded with one goal each by tri-captain Evan Dedominicis ’13 and Roddy. Another Middlebury goal at 10:19 led to a two-goal spree by Kiesel, who added an assist on an Andy Grabowski ’15 goal, bringing the score to 14-13 in favor of Middlebury. This three-goal spree by the Ephs allowed tri-captain Will Stewart ’13 to tie the score at 14-14 with 1:38 left in the half. The Panthers fired a shot with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter, to take a 15-14 lead. Although Dayton attempted a shot in the last seconds of the game, the ball went wide. The Panthers escaped with a narrow 15-14 win over the Ephs.
“Middlebury was a very competitive game where we showed a lot of fight, scoring six goals in the final quarter to tie it up 14-14 with just over a minute to go,” Head Coach George McCormack said. “Steven Kiesel, Conor Roddy and Tucker Dayton really stepped it up in regards to scoring and Stephen Upton [’14] and Ryan Hamilton [’16] played well defensively.
Despite different NESCAC records, the final score indicated the even and intense competition that both Williams and Middlebury put forward. The loss kept the Ephs out of the NESCAC tournament, a chance they missed by a slim margin. The men graduate four seniors this year: Dedominicis, Growney, Stewart and tri-captain Mack Von Mehren ’13. The men’s 5-7 record is a marked improvement from their 3-10 season last year.