May 4, 2013

Western N.E. Bounces Endicott for CCC Hardware

from press release

BEVERLY, Mass. - Visiting Western New England used a strong second half to upend No. 1 seed Endicott 9-5 to capture the 2013 Commonwealth Coast Conference Men's Lacrosse Championship on Saturday at Endicott Stadium, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

The No. 2-seeded Golden Bears, who have won six of their last seven starts, improve to 11-6 on the season. The program won its fourth CCC crown--and second in a row--since joining the conference for the 2008 season and will move on to the NCAA Tournament. The Golden Bears play their NCAA First Round match-up on Wednesday against an opponent to be announced during Sunday evening's NCAA Selection Show. The Gulls (13-6) saw their bid for an eighth conference championship and appearance in the NCAA Tournament fall short despite storming out to a 3-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.

"Our team valued the opportunity of competing for a championship. They played very unselfishly and competed in every aspect of the game," Western New England coach John Klepacki said. "I am very proud of the defensive attention to details and desire to support each other.

"We are proud to represent our conference in the upcoming NCAA Tournament."

Junior Adam Knapton scored his second goal of the game, with a man-up, in the third quarter to snap a 4-4 halftime deadlock. Almost five minutes, later Knapton fed sophomore Jon Bota for his second goal of the afternoon for a 6-4 WNE lead.

The Golden Bears put the clamps down in the second half on an Endicott squad that tops the CCC with 230 goals. Western New England scored five of the game's six goals over the final 30 minutes, and held the Gulls scoreless in the third.

Golden Bears junior defenseman Jack Liacos had a game-high five caused turnover with four ground balls. Senior midfielder Corey Johnson added three more caused turnovers for the winners.

Connor McCormack led the EC offense with a hat-trick while Sam Ozycz was dominant in the Gulls' possession game by winning 15 of 17 face-offs and scooping up a game-best 11 ground balls.

In the second quarter trailing by two goals, Western New England pulled to within one, 3-2, at 10:38 on Bota's first goal, which was assisted by junior Owen Caruso (1 goal, 2 assists), but fell behind again by two goals after Gulls sophomore Nick Pinciaro delivered his 31st of the spring off a pass from sophomore Scott McCormack four minutes later.

With the first half coming to a close, the Golden Bears took advantage of a man-up opportunity as Knapton scored unassisted to make it a 4-3 game with 3:20 remaining. The Gulls took a timeout at the 1:51 mark and after WNE sophomore goalie Brandon Body made his 12th save of the half on a shot by Harrison Cotter, the Golden Bears cleared the ball down the field which led to senior midfielder James Reardon's game-tying goal with 11 seconds off an assist from Caruso.

The Golden Bears struck with back-to-back goals at the start of the fourth quarter to take a commanding 8-4 advantage as sophomore attacker George Knapp got a feed from Ryan Marcus at 12:49 and Caruso scored, unassisted, 47 seconds later.

Senior Nick Jez scored WNE's first goal at 8:21 of the first, while a man-up, and the last with 2:25 to go in the contest.

Endicott was led defensively by senior defenseman Anthony Martignetti (Winchester, Mass.) who had two caused turnovers and three groundballs.

Body made 14 saves in the game while his counterpart, Gulls freshman Cameron Bell made eight stops between the pipes.

The Gulls outshot the Golden Bears 35-25 and held a 36-26 advantage on ground balls.

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