May 3, 2014

Western New England Shocks Endicott

from press release

BEVERLY, Mass. - Western New England University scored eight unanswered goals and used a suffocating defense in the second half to complete a come-from-behind 13-8 victory over nationally No. 11-ranked Endicott College to capture its third consecutive Commonwealth Coast Conference men's lacrosse championship at Endicott Stadium on Saturday. The win avenges Western New England's 20-6 loss at Endicott on April 15.

With its fourth win in a row, the Golden Bears improve to 10-7 on the season and earn the CCC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship--their third straight trip and seventh in team history to the Big Dance. The conference tournament's top-seeded Gulls (14-4 overall) await to learn if they receive an at-large berth to the NCAAs from the selection committee, which begins Wednesday with first-round action. The NCAA Selection Show is set for 10 p.m. Sunday.

Senior Colton Craig scored a game-high-tying five goals, including three in WNE's 7-0 run during a span of 4 minutes and 37 seconds to end the third quarter to erase a 7-5 deficit. Freshman Keegan Dudeck scored with 3:21 to go in the contest to cap the eight-goal run.

For WNE, senior tri-captain Adam Knapton added a hat trick and Dudeck finished with four points on two goals and two assists. Junior Brandon Body made 13 saves in the Golden Bears cage, including six in the final stanza to help keep the Gulls at bay.

Junior Harrison Cotter led Endicott with five goals, followed by Colin Bannon with two goals and an assist and Nick Pinciaro who had a goal and two helpers.

After a first-half effort saw Endicott take a 6-4 lead due in large part to four goals by Cotter, the CCC Player of the Year, both teams came out of the locker room in the third quarter and battled through a 6:25 stalemate with Endicott maintaining their two-goal advantage.

At 8:35 on the clock in the third quarter, however, the Golden Bears started a miraculous stretch that saw them score eight goals over the course of the next 4:59 to take command of the game at 12-7 after 45 minutes of play. Of the eight goals, three goals apiece were scored by Knapton and Craig. Senior Justin McKinney and sophomore Stephen Gair both scored unassisted tallies in the high-paced third.

Consistent defensive presence by WNE defenders Jack Liacos, a senior who had four ground balls, and sophomore midfielder Patrick Dillon, who combined for six of their team's 10 caused turnovers, and strong face-off play by senior midfielder Jesse DeLucca's 12-of-18 on the draw, also contributed toward the win.

Western New England also held a strong battle for ground balls of 41 to 26 over Endicott. Gair and DeLucca led the Golden Bears with five apiece, and Tommy Hughes and Cameron Bell also had five each for the Gulls. Western New England out-scooped EC by a 25-10 margin during the second and third quarters when the visitors made their move.

Endicott held a 4-1 lead in the first quarter.

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