April 10, 2013

Wesleyan Has That Something Extra, Defeats Eastern Men's Lacrosse

MANSFIELD, Conn. -- The Wesleyan University men's lacrosse team scored three extra-man goals in a span of 70 seconds to wrestle away the momentum at the start of the second half and went on to a 13-9 non-conference victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Thursday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

The contest was completed Thursday after lightning forced a suspension of play Wednesday night immediately after Wesleyan's (9-2) third extra-man goal with a minute and 30 seconds into the second half gave the Cardinals an 8-4 lead.

The win is the fifth straight for Wesleyan and fourth straight in this series. Eastern (3-7) has lost two in a row after winning two straight. The Cardinals are ranked No. 19 in Division III and No. 4 in New England.

Wesleyan gained the momentum for good after Eastern was whistled for two penalties - one a three-minute unreleasable infraction - while Wesleyan senior Brendan Hanley was scoring a goal with 21 seconds left in the first half that put the Cardinals up for good, 5-4.

Sophomore David Murphy and juniors Aidan Daniell and Remy Lieberman followed by scoring extra-man goals in a span of 70 seconds in the opening minutes of the second half - Murphy's coming on a two-man Wesleyan advantage. The goals came in a stretch where Wesleyan scored nine unanswered goals - two ending the first half and seven in the opening 12 minutes of the third quarter.

Down by eight goals in the first minute of the fourth quarter, Eastern held Wesleyan in check the rest of the game, totaling four goals over the final 12 minutes to make the final margin four goals.

Trailing by two goals after one period, Eastern took over the momentum in the second quarter, scoring the first three goals to move into its only lead of the match, 4-3, with just under seven minutes left in the first half. Junior All-America Mike Devine (Cheshire) scored had a goal and assist in that stretch and the Eastern defense forced Wesleyan into seven of its game total of 16 turnovers.

With time running down in the first half, however, Wesleyan tied the match with 3:29 left on junior Graham McNab's second goal of the half, then assumed the momentum for good when Hanley was roughed up while scoring the goal which put the Cards up for good, 5-4, with 21 seconds left in the half.

Senior Jeff Giocondi won 11 faceoffs and picked up seven ground balls for Wesleyan.

Sophomore Quentin DellaFera led Wesleyan with four goals - scoring two in succession in the first quarter and two more in a row 17 seconds apart in the third quarter to cap the visitors' run of nine unanswered goals. Macnab followed with three goals and Hanley and Murphy chipped in a goal and two assists each.

Wesleyan enjoyed a 2-to-1 advantage in shots, with Eastern freshman goalie Blake Smaldone (Hamilton, MA) turning back 14 shots in his third consecutive start.

Eastern returns to Little East Conference action Saturday at 1 p.m. at Plymouth State University.