Williams edges Panthers twice to end Middlebury’s season

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Middlebury College men’s lacrosse team saw its season come to an end last week with a pair of losses to Williams, the second one by a 13-9 count in a NESCAC quarterfinal on the Ephs’ turf.
That game was played at Williams because the Ephs had won at Middlebury, 9-7, in the teams’ regular season finale on Wednesday. The winner of that game earned the No. 4 seed, and the loser was given the No. 5 seed for the NESCAC tournament.
The losses to the 10-6 Ephs snapped what had been a six-game NESCAC winning streak for the Panthers, who finished their season at 8-8.
On Saturday, goalie Dan Whittam contributed with 13 saves, while Jack Lauroesch had three goals and two assists to pace the Ephs.  
After Williams took a quick 2-0 lead, Panther Tim Giarrusso scored an unassisted goal following a groundball pickup in the midfield, but it proved to be Middlebury’s only first-half score. Lauroesch scored to make it 3-1 after the first period, and Williams added three in the second to make it 6-1 at the break.
Goals by Jack Cleary and Jack Rautiola made it 6-3 early in the third quarter, but the Ephs responded with two more of their own to make it 8-3. Giarrusso struck again, but Williams responded to make it 9-4, and Whittam made several key saves to preserve that score heading into the fourth.
Jon Broome scored Middlebury’s fifth goal less than 30 seconds into the quarter, taking advantage of a man-up situation, but the Ephs scored the next two goals to make it 11-5. Stephen Seymour scored, but Eph Tanner McIvor’s second goal of the game made it 12-6 with 6:09 to play.
The Panthers then went on a 3-0 run to cut the score to 12-9, with Chase Clymer, Broome and Giarrusso doing the damage. But Giarrusso’s goal came with 1:09 to go, and the Panther rally came up short before the Ephs tacked on a late goal.
Panther goalie Nate Gaudio made eight saves. The Panthers won the ground ball (31-26) and faceoff (17-7) battles, but the Ephs had fewer turnovers (15-21) and outshot the Panthers, 44-40.
On Wednesday, the Ephs scored the final four goals and outscored the Panthers, 6-1, in the second half in their 9-7 victory.
The Panthers took their 6-3 halftime lead on two goals apiece by Seymour and Brian Ayers and single markers from Broome and Darric White, a long-stick defender who scored his second of the year to cap a three-goal run that snapped a 3-3 tie.
But the Ephs won seven of nine second-half faceoffs and outshot the Panthers after the break, 25-9 on the way to an advantage of 38-25 overall.
Williams scored twice to open the third period before Broome made it 7-5 by converting a feed from Chris Peterson in transition to put Middlebury on top, 7-5.
Goals by Thomas Fowler and Steven Kiesel tied the game at 7-7 before the end of the third. Whittam (five saves) preserved the tie by denying Seymour’s point-blank shot at 12:22. Andy Grabowski netted what proved to be the game-winner at 10:50, and Kiesel added an empty-net pad goal with 43 seconds to go with Gaudio (seven saves) out of his goal trying to break a Williams stall.

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