Wheaton Falls Short of New England College During ECAC Semifinal Round, 10-7
BEVERLY, MA--- The Wheaton College men's lacrosse team's quest for the program's first Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament championship came to an end Saturday night, as the second-seeded Lyons fell to number-three New England College, 10-7 in the semifinal round at Endicott College's Endicott Stadium.
Winners in eight of its past nine games entering today's contest, Wheaton finished its first season under head coach Brian Endicott with an 8-8 record. The Pilgrims, now 10-7, move on to face host Endicott in tomorrow's title game.
Despite holding decisive first-half advantages in multiple categories, including 24-11 in shots, 21-7 in ground balls and 7-2 in face-offs, the Lyons needed a late tally in the second period to knot the score at four heading into the intermission. Senior Jeff Gomer (Duxbury, MA/Duxbury), who went 7-for-11 on face-offs during the game while scooping up eight ground balls and tacking on three points, opened the game's scoring with an unassisted tally 2:42 into the first.
After New England College scored with 9:26 to play in the opening quarter, Wheaton freshman Billy McNamara (Mansfield, MA/Northfield Mount Hermon School) answered just 1:06 after that, connecting on a feed from sophomore Ben Cederberg (Duxbury, MA/Duxbury) during a man-up opportunity for what proved to be the last goal of the frame.
The back-and-forth affair continued into the second quarter, as three ties took place, with the Pilgrims knotting the game at two 2:01 into play. Junior Tim Horan (Cheshire, CT/Cheshire) pushed the Lyons back in front at the 8:10 mark before New England College scored twice during an 11-second span for a 4-3 edge with more than five minutes remaining before the half. At 1:45, Gomer found sophomore Chris Landers (Manchester, MA/Proctor Academy) for the equalizer.
The second half belonged to the Pilgrims, who went on a 4-0 run to open the third and held a comfortable 8-4 advantage by 4:59. Cederberg pulled Wheaton to within 8-5 with 2:43 to play in the third, but New England College rattled off two goals to begin the fourth and lead 10-5 at 7:26. Horan and freshman Charlie Willauer (Duxbury, MA/Proctor Academy) netted back-to-back goals, making the score 10-7 with 2:17 to go. After the Lyons won the ensuing face, they had their final two shots go for naught, as the Pilgrims held possession for most of the final two minutes to ice the win.
Wheaton, which entered the week with the nation's seventh-best man-up offense, was 1-for-4 against New England College, which converted two of its four chances. Horan finished with two goals for the Lyons, Gomer had one tally and two assists, while Cederberg and Willauer each added one goal and one helper. Junior goalie Schuyler Horn (New Hartford, CT/Kingswood-Oxford School) turned aside six shots.
Pilgrim junior Matt Vozzolo (Somers, CT/Somers) led all scorers with four goals and one assist, while sophomore Nick Acquaviva (Syracuse, NY/Cicero-North Syracuse) had 12 saves in the cage.