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Second-Half Surge Sends Men's Lacrosse Past MIT, 15-9, In NEWMAC Semifinals

Springfield, Mass. - April 29, 2015 - The Springfield College men's lacrosse team opened up the second half with seven unanswered goals as it rallied for a 15-9 win over MIT in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship Semifinals on Wednesday on Stagg Field.

Meeting for the fifth time in the last six years in the conference tournament semifinals, Springfield improves to 10-7, while MIT drops to 12-5.  The Pride will hit the road to face Babson on Saturday at 1:00 pm with the NEWMAC Championship and a spot in the NCAA Division III Championship on the line

Playing against each other for the second time in five days, Springfield was paced offensivley by the duo of Dylan Sheehan (Massapequa, N.Y.) and Bryce Serriello (Cape Cod, Mass.) as the each tallied five points each.  Dom Abate (Beverly, Mass.) added three fourth-quarter goals, and Mark Gonzalez (Tolland, Conn.) went 17-for-26 at the face-off "X" with 10 ground balls.  Chris Santaniello (West Springfield, Mass.) made 11 saves in net, including seven in the fourth quarter, and Connor Eschmann (Wrentham, Mass.) had a standout showing, causing four turnovers and picking up four ground balls. 

Eric Bartell was strong in cage for MIT, notching 14 saves, including 10 in the first 30 minutes of action.  Graham Davis (Crofton, Md.) netted three goals and added an assist, while Harris Stolzenberg (Weston, Fla.) notched two goals and two assists.

For the game, Springfield held a 42-29 advantage in shots and had a 31-16 edge in ground balls.  The Pride went 4-for-4 on its man-up opportunities and held MIT to a 1-for-4 showing in its extra man.

Sheehan netted the game's first goal just 52 seconds into the contest as he buried a terrific inside feed from Brendan Boss (West Springfield, Mass.) while getting hit coming across the crease. The visitors answered back with 9:14 left in the first as Stolzenberg took a Michael Traub (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) pass in transition and punched in a shot on the doorster, however Duncan Preston (South Portland, Maine) put Springfield back on top with 1:35 on the clock in the first after spinning through the Engineer offense on an impressive individual effort.

The final minute of action proved to have plenty of action, with the teams combining for three goals to end the quarter knotted at 3-3.  Luke Verdi (Middletown, Md.) started the scoring with a MIT strike with 52 seconds on Trabu's second-assist of the quarter before Stolzenberg dodged free for a 3-2 lead with 11 ticks left.

Springfield potted the final goal of the first when Matt Dalton (Somers, N.Y. ) finished Kevin Sainte's (Lexington, Mass.) desperation feed from behind the cage at the buzzer to make it a 3-3 contest.

The visitors went back on top just over three minutes into the second quarter on an unassisted goal from Davis, only to have Serriello answer back by muscling his way towards cage and flipping in an underhand shot with 10:20 on the clock.

However, the remainder of the quarter was all MIT as Davis pumped in another unassisted strike at 7:33 after he dodged down the alley and would later take a Stolzenberg feed and deliver a man-up goal at the 4:54 mark.

The visitors continued to pour on the pressure, with Paul Orrson (Baltimore, Md.) ripping a a shot from 15 yards out just under a minute later, and a Traub goal on a Stolzenberg look in transition, put MIT ahead 8-4 heading into the half.

Serriello put the Pride on his back to begin the second half, pouring in three-straight goals in the first nine-plus minutes of the third quarter.  The senior got things started as he unleashed a rocket for a man-up goal off a cross-field pass from Sheehan at 10:04, spun free and cranked a shot from 15 yards out at the 7:43 mark, and then tacked on another goal with 5:30 on the clock as he got free from his man and pumped in a lefty finish to make it an 8-7 contest and forcing MIT into a timeout. 

Following a MIT face-off violation, Brendan Dooley (Setauket, N.Y.) found Dalton on a quick restart and the longstick midfielder skipped in a shot from 10 yards for his second of the game to even thigns at eight apiece.

Springfield's offense continued to click, regaining a 9-8 lead on a Kevin Dean (Westhampton, N.Y.) man-up goal before Sheehan registered a man-up marker of his own to give Springfield a 10-8 cushion heading into the final quarter.

Abate stung the top shelf on the run 45 seconds into the fourth to keep things going for Springfield before Mitch Turley (Westfield, Ind.) scored MIT's first goal in nearly 23 minutes to make it 11-9 with 9:15 left in regulation.  Abate answered right back with another unassisted goal 5:07, only to have Serriello flip in an underhanded shot 44 seconds later to force MIT into a timeout.

Abate completed the fourth-quarter hat trick with another unassisted goal at 3:43 and Dean snuck in another man-up goal at 1:22 to complete the scoring.