Men’s lax rallies for a playoff win

MIDDLEBURY — The fourth-seeded Middlebury College men’s lacrosse team got two goals in the final 1:10 from Kyle Soroka to rally past No. 5 Bates, 11-10, in Saturday’s NESCAC quarterfinal and advance to this weekend’s league final four at Tufts.
The 11-5 Panthers will meet No. 3 Bowdoin (12-4) at 3 p.m. on Saturday, after No. 1 Tufts (at 14-2 the defending league and NCAA Division III champion) and No. 7 Williams (10-6) square off at noon.
The winners will meet on Sunday at noon for the NESCAC title and the league’s automatic berth to this year’s NCAA tournament, and the other teams will hope for at-large bids. The Panthers were upset in their regular season finale this past Wednesday by visiting Williams, 13-9, possibly damaging their at-large hopes. They also lost squeakers to both Bowdoin and Tufts during the regular season.
Soroka scored five goals this past Saturday, including the game-winner with 13.9 seconds remaining. The Bobcats (11-4) possessed and led, 10-9, with 3:36 remaining, but Panther Eric Rogers caused a turnover to give Middlebury the ball back. One minute later, Soroka tied the game with a rocket from the left side with 1:10 remaining.
Panther middie John Jackson won the ensuing faceoff, and Middlebury called a timeout with 23 seconds remaining before working the ball to Soroka. Soroka drove to the goal from the right side before ripping the winning shot home.
Middlebury led at the half, 6-3, after a 3-0 run to close the second quarter on goals by Soroka, Jon Broome and Cedrick Rhodes. But Bates went on a 5-1 run to open the second half to lead, 8-7, and the game remained tight from there.
Bobcat Jack Allard’s third goal of the game came with 6:43 to go and made it 10-9. Charlie Fay led Bates with four goals, and Bobcat goalie Joe Faria made 13 saves.
Panther goalie Will Ernst stopped 17 shots, including eight during a first quarter when the Bobcats got several open looks. Soroka’s five goals were aided by two tallies and three assists for Broome, who moved into fifth place at Middlebury with 216 career points. Sean Carroll finished with two goals and an assist, while Jackson won 14 of 24 faceoffs with six groundballs, and Broome and Michael McCormack each picked up four grounds balls.

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