Middlebury men’s lax nabs No. 2 seed

AMHERST — The Middlebury College men’s lacrosse team shut down host Amherst in Saturday’s second half to pull away for a 17-11 victory that clinched the No. 2 seed for the Panthers in the upcoming NESCAC tournament.

At 13-1, 8-1 NESCAC, entering their regular-season finale at Williams on Wednesday, the Panthers have a two-game lead on their nearest pursuers for second place. However they cannot catch undefeated Tufts for the top seed.

League-wide results on Wednesday will determine which team earns the No. 7 seed and visits Middlebury at a time to be determined on Saturday. Barring a surprising upset, Tufts will host the NESCAC final four on May 6 and 7.

On this past Saturday, the Panthers outscored the host Mammoths by a single goal in each of the first two quarters and led at the half, 11-9, after late second-period goals by Russell Thorndike and William Ryan.

Then the Panther defense and goalie Hayden Kern (16 saves) took over in the third period, in which the Panthers outscored Amherst, 3-0, and got two goals from Billy Curtis and one late in the period from Cooper DeMallie to take a commanding 14-9 lead into the final 15 minutes. Middlebury outscored the Mammoths by 3-2 in the fourth quarter to nail down the victory over Amherst, which dropped to 9-4, 5-4 in league play.

Curtis and Ryan led the attack with four goals apiece, Thorndike tossed in three goals, DeMallie added a pair, and Finn Muldoon chipped in with four assists. The Panther defense caused 11 turnovers.

Tanyr Krummenacher led Amherst with five goals and three assists, and goalie Mitch Likins made eight saves.

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