March 1, 2014

Men's Lacrosse Crushes NEC in Season Opener

MANSFIELD, Conn. – Eighteen different players contributed a goal or assist as the Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team opened its 2014 season with a 21-4 victory over New England College Saturday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

At right: Goalie Blake Smaldone and two subsequent teammates got plenty of offensive help in Saturday's home-opening win.

In the first meeting between the programs, Eastern led 17-2 at halftime on the strength of a 41-11 advantage in shots, and added four goals on 14 shots in the second half. Excluding a fourth-string goalie, all 41 available players saw action. Fifteen players scored at least one goal, and nine added at least one assist.

First-year players scoring their first goals were Matt Ikawa (Hampton, NH), Colin Davis (Hebron), Tim Reilly (Hanover, MA) and Richie Miller (Weston). Sophomore goalie Blake Smaldone (Hamilton, MA) made four saves through the first half to gain the win in net, with sophomore Brendan Gillotti (Danbury) and junior Richard Squires (Norwalk) closing it out in goal. The trio combined for ten saves.

Coming off its second straight Little East Conference title, Eastern was ranked No. 1 in the LEC pre-season coaches poll and is rated No. 9 in New England. New England (0-1) was ranked second in the North Atlantic Conference pre-season poll.

Eastern hosts Babson College Wednesday at 4 p.m. The Beavers are ranked No. 10 in New England.