Men’s lacrosse falls in NESCAC playoffs

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — Host No. 4 seed Wesleyan ousted the No. 5 Middlebury College men’s lacrosse team from the NESCAC tournament in a Saturday quarterfinal, 17-9.

Middlebury (8-8), which lost to the 12-4 Cardinals by just a goal during the regular season, was down by just 6-4 at the half and 11-8 early in the fourth quarter, but Wesleyan closed the game on a 6-1 run to salt the win away.

Tyler Forbes led the Panthers with four goals, while Luke Simpson scored once and scooped six groundballs. William Munroe won 17 of 27 faceoffs with seven ground balls, and Andrew Ng caused three turnovers. Panther goalie Finn O’Connor made nine saves.

Cardinal Matt Gill recorded four goals and four assists, and Justin Hazard scored five times and set up two goals. Cardinal goalie Colin Hanley made 14 stops.

In the Panthers’ regular season finale on April 27, they took a 10-5 halftime lead and held on for a 13-10 victory over visiting Williams, thus securing the No. 5 seed and dropping the Ephs (7-8, 5-5 NESCAC) to the No. 6 spot

The first quarter ended in a 3-3 tie, with Billy Curtis, Russell Thorndike and Gray Thomas scoring for the Panthers.

Middlebury then outscored Williams by 7-2 in the second quarter, including four goals in the first 3:33 and then three straight to close the period, including strikes by Forbes and Finn Muldoon 12 seconds apart.

Each team scored once in the third period, with Jack Sheehan striking from long range with Middlebury a man up in the early going.

Williams closed to within 11-10 with 1:35 remaining by scoring the first four goals of the final period. But the Panthers won the faceoff, and Forbes scored on an empty net as Eph goalie Matt Freitas came out of his crease to be an extra defender. Middlebury added a goal when Simpson collected the next faceoff, firing a 50-yard shot into the empty net.

Thorndike paced the Panther attack with three goals and two assists, while Thomas and Forbes both scored twice. Munroe won 14 of 20 faceoffs and collected 10 groundballs. O’Connor made 11 saves in the Panther goal.

Jake Haase and Calvin Caputo each produced three goals and an assist for Williams, while Freitas finished with 15 stops.

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