Eastern Men's Lacrosse Busts Out in LEC Playoff Opener, 23-4
MANSFIELD, Conn. – Based upon the events of ten days ago, few could have predicted Eastern Connecticut State University's Little East Conference semifinal-round onslaught against Western Connecticut State University Friday night at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
After struggling to a 12-9 triumph over Western in the final regular-season road match of the year April 23, second-seeded Eastern unloaded both barrels Friday, scoring 15 unanswered goals in the first half and waltzing to a 23-4 victory over the sixth-seeded Colonials.
With its fifth straight victory, defending tournament champion Eastern (9-7) moves into its annual LEC championship confrontation with top-rated Keene State College Sunday at the Owl Athletic Complex at 3 p.m.. Keene (14-2) won its eighth straight in Friday's other semifinal, dispatching fourth-seeded Plymouth State University, 19-9 for its seventh home victory in eight outings. Eastern has lost five of nine road contests this year, but is 3-1 away from home against LEC opponents, the one loss a 7-6 decision at Keene State a month ago.
Eastern and Keene have met in the title game nine times in the last ten years, Eastern having captured five. In each game, the home team has won.
All six Eastern goalies saw time, with freshman starter Blake Smaldone (Hamilton, MA) winning his fifth match in seven decisions with a shutout over the first 30 minutes. Thirteen different players contributed a goal or assist, led by junior attacks Mike Jordan (Cheshire) and Trevor Morrissette (Bedford, NH). Jordan had five goals and four assists and Morrissette five goals, with junior midfielder Tyler Fresen (Newington) adding two goals and three assists and sophomore midfielder Dean Accomando (Monroe) a goal and three helpers.
Senior midfielder Josh Dubinsky (Woodstock) won ten of 14 faceoffs and picked up nine ground balls.
With the victory, Eastern improved to 14-0 all-time in this series, four of the contests coming in the LEC playoffs.