Men's lacrosse edged in NESCAC quarterfinal
Connecticut College's Bobby Bleistein made 15 saves and the nationally ranked No. 15 Camels defeated Hamilton College 8-6 in a 2013 NESCAC Championship quarterfinal at Conn. College's Artificial Turf at Silfen Field on April 27.
The second-seeded Camels (12-3 overall) advance to the semifinals for the third time in program history. Conn. College tied for first place in the conference standings with Middlebury College, which will host the rest of the championship. The Camels are ranked sixth in the North Region by the NCAA and have won 10 of their last 11 games. Conn. College's lone loss during that stretch was a 5-4 setback at Hamilton on April 13.
The Continentals (9-6) came into the postseason with a five-game win streak. Hamilton tied for fifth place in the conference standings and is the No. 7 seed for the championship. The Continentals were making their second NESCAC championship appearance in their second year in the conference.
The score was tied 5-5 at the end of the third quarter and the Camels prevailed with a strong performance in the final 15 minutes. Briggs Barton put Conn. College ahead for good 39 seconds into the fourth quarter with a blast from the center of the box. Stephen Eicher gave the Camels a two-goal cushion with 9:59 left when he beat his defender and caromed a shot off the turf.
Pax Anthos '14 pulled Hamilton within a goal on his 13th this year with 6:17 remaining. Chad Sawyer accounted for the final margin on his 30th goal with 3:54 to go when he finished a turnaround shot from the left side. Conn. College held a 12-6 shot advantage in the quarter.
Bleistein entered the day ranked No. 1 in the NESCAC with a .669 save percentage. Andrew Freedman led the offense with two goals and an assist, and Hartgers and John Lyons posted one goal and one assist apiece. Sawyer, Eicher, Barton and Jeff Smith scored one goal each, and Tyler Corcoran was credited with an assist. Brendan Schrader won 14 of 18 face-offs and scooped up four ground balls.
Anthos recorded two goals and an assist for the Continentals. Connor Morgan '15 and Bryan Hopper '14 chipped in two goals apiece, and John Zimmerman '15 and Luke Walsh '13 picked up one helper apiece. Will Driscoll '15 tied a career high with 18 saves and Dylan Lahey '15 added a game-high five ground balls and caused two turnovers.
Freedman opened the scoring 1:28 into regulation with a wraparound move. The visitors responded with the next two goals. Hopper scored the equalizer with 10:15 remaining and with 5:15 to play, Zimmerman made a nice feed from behind the cage to Morgan, who found the back of the net. The Continentals had a 2-1 lead after one quarter.
The Camels responded in the second quarter with a three-goal flurry in a span of 2 minutes, 15 seconds. After the teams exchanged goals, Lyons assisted Freedman at the 5:28 mark. Freedman connected with Lyons for another goal just 20 seconds later, and Corcoran made a nice pass to Hartgers for a 5-3 lead with 3:13 left. Hamilton pulled within a goal at the break thanks to Morgan, who collected a ground ball off the rebound of a missed shot and scored with 1:16 remaining.
Hamilton accounted for the only goal in the third quarter with 59 seconds left. Walsh made the connection from behind the cage and Anthos unloaded for the equalizer from the right side of the box.
Hamilton was awarded an extra-man opportunity with 54.6 seconds left but Bleistein stepped up. Morgan’s shot was stopped and Bleistein denied Hopper from point-blank range.
The Camels enjoyed a 42-34 shot advantage. Hamilton entered the week ranked 13th in Division III in man-down defense at 84.8 percent. Conn. College scored once on three extra-man opportunities and the Continentals didn't convert their lone chance late in the fourth quarter.