Behind Defense, Eastern Downs Babson, 9-6
MANSFIELD, Conn. – The Eastern Connecticut State University man-down unit killed off seven of eight penalties and the Warriors overcame their only deficit of the game by scoring six straight goals – four coming in the final three minutes of the third quarter – to post a 9-6 non-conference men's lacrosse victory over Babson College Wednesday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
At right: Chris Brown (24)
Trailing for the only time in the game, Eastern (2-0) ran off six straight goals – four coming in the final three minutes of the third quarter – to defeat Babson (1-2) for the eighth in last nine meetings between the programs. Two-time All-America midfielder Mike Devine (Cheshire) had assists on three of the goals in the final four minutes of the quarter – two of the helpers setting up former high school teammate Mike Jordan (Cheshire) ,a senior attackman, for easy dunks.
Eastern, ranked No. 8 in New England, was whistled for eight of the ten penalties in the match – including the first six – but Babson could capitalize against the Warriors' man-down unit spearheaded by defenseman Chris Brown (Cohasset, MA) and Travis Tiger (Ridgfield), both defensemen. The Beavers' lone extra-man strike came when freshman attackman Matthew Logan (Downingtown, PA) recorded his first collegiate goal with 6:29 left in the third quarter and capped a three-goal Babson run that pushed the visitors into their only lead of the game, 4-3.
With Eastern down by one, Jordan registered his 5th, 6th and 7th goals in two games – the third tally set up by junior midfielder Zach Thresher (Somers) – and senior attack Trevor Morrissette (Bedford, NH) beat the third-period horn on a late pass from Devine to make it 6-4 heading into the final quarter.
First-year sophomore midfielder Tyler Vallie (Orange) – a pre-season All-New England selection – won ten of 15 faceoffs, and Tiger and Brown both scooped up four ground balls – as the Warriors made it two straight wins to open the season for the first time in nine years. Devine totaled two goals and three assists.
Sophomore goalie Blake Smaldone (Hamilton, MA) made 12 saves to post his second win in as many starts this year. Smaldone shut out the Beavers for a stretch of 18:32 before sophomore midfielder Scott Doten (Western Springs, IL) broke through for his first two goals of the year over the final three minutes.
Babson scoring leader Spencer Low (Natick, MA), a sophomore attack, was limited to one goal – his eighth of the year and the team's first of the game midway through the first quarter on three shots.
Eastern hosts Endicott College Saturday at noon. The Gulls are rated third in New England.