Panther men’s lacrosse starts with a win

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College men’s lacrosse team opened the season by winning a NESCAC game at home and a non-league contest on the road. The Panthers are ranked No. 7 in NCAA Division III and face a challenge on Saturday, when top-ranked Tufts will visit at 2 p.m.
On this past Saturday, Middlebury goalkeeper Will Ernst made a dozen saves to lead the Panthers to a 5-4 win over visiting Connecticut College in the season opener for both teams. Middlebury has now won 11 straight at home; the team went 10-0 at Alumni Stadium a year ago.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Camels took a 1-0 lead at 13:10 of the second when Ross Thompson scored from 12 yards out. Middlebury answered less than three minutes later, when Joseph Zelkowitz caused a turnover, picked up the ground ball, raced to the other end of the field and found the back of the net.
The Panthers went up 2-1 at 7:05 of the quarter, when Kyle Soroka fed Jack Gould for a man-up goal. The Camels evened the game at 2:35, when Pierce DellaFera set up Tucker Mscisz.
Another Mscisz tally opened the second half: He turned and fired a low shot home at 13:07 to snap the tie. Middlebury scored the only other goal of the quarter with 3:32 remaining, when Sean Carroll converted on a quick-stick shot after a dish from Gould.
The Panthers took a 4-3 lead at 8:24 of the fourth quarter when Henry Riehl converted after a pass from Parker Lawlor. The Camels answered less than two minutes later, when P.J. Kelleher scored with an assist from Thompson.
At 5:44, Riehl netted the game-winner on another feed from Lawlor.
With 4:40 remaining, the Camels had a man-up opportunity. Ernst came up big on a shot from Kelleher cutting to the goal, stuffed him again seconds later, and then made another big save on Mscisz.
The Camels had one last chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but Ernst, who was named the NESCAC defensive player of the week, thwarted a tough shot from Derek Bertolini as time expired.
On Tuesday, the Panthers gradually pulled away from host Endicott (1-3) for a 16-10 victory. The score was tied at 3-3 after one period, but Middlebury took charge with a 5-2 edge in the second quarter before outscoring the Gulls by 8-5 in the second half. Five Panthers scored in the decisive second quarter.
Carroll finished with a career-high five goals to go along with an assist for Middlebury, while Jon Broome added two tallies and four assists. Tim Giarrusso and Soroka each found the back of the Gull net twice, and Ernst made seven saves. Middlebury held advantages of 49-32 in shots and 42-39 in ground balls. 

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