Springfield, Mass. - May 2, 2019 - Thanks to a goal from Ray McCarthy (Somers, Conn.) with 43 seconds remaining in overtime, the Springfield College men's lacrosse team downed MIT, 14-13, in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship Semifinals on Thursday night on Stagg Field.
Springfield, which entered the contest as the No. 2 seed in the tournament, evened its record at 9-9, while MIT, the third seed, dropped to 10-8. With the win, Springfield College advances to its conference championship game for the 20th-consecutive season and will play for an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Championship on Saturday at Coast Guard.
Less than two weeks removed from their regular season meeting at MIT in which Springfield prevailed 16-15 in overtime, tonight proved to be another tremendous showing between both squads. MIT held a 51-39 advantage in shots and won 19-of-30 from the face-off "X" en route to a 38-25 cushion in ground balls.
For MIT, James Santoro (Tewksbury, N.J.) totaled five points on two goals and three assists, Jonathan Monahemi (Great Neck, N.Y.) registered three assists and a goal, and Gavin Vandenberg (Elmhurst, Ill.) netted three goals. Luke Gianni (Henderson, Nev.) was 19 face-offs and picked up 13 ground balls and Lukas Drexler-Bruce (Denver, Colo.) was credited with eight saves.
For the second-straight season, Springfield outlasted its opponent in overtime of the NEWMAC Semifinals, and did so on Wednesday behind three goals and an assist from Lucas Habich (Little Silver, N.J.). Cole Pecora (North Haven, Conn.) added three goals, and Cameron Glover (Brunswick, Maine) netted two goals to go along with two assists Cole Finerty (Kensington, N.H.) made 12 stops in the victory.
Vandenberg opened up the scoring just 2:30 into the contest as he finished along the crease, only to have Glover even the score at 10:47 on an unassisted strike. Oliver Heins (Fair Haven, N.J.) finished a cross-crease feed from Liam Miller (Pasedena, Calif.) at 6:33 to put the visitors back on top, but Springfield would net a pair of goals from Jack Vail (Franklin, Mass.) and Zachary Schuette (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) just 50 seconds apart to open up a 3-2 advantage to close out the first.
The Engineers rattled off four-straight goals to start the second quarter, a stanza in which the Engineers owned a 15-7 advantage in shots. Vandenberg again started the scoring with a goal in transition at 10:26, before Santoro and Miller delivered unassisted goals just under two minutes apart. A man-up strike from Aidan Westley (Palos Verdes, Calif.) with 4:16 remaining in the quarter gave the Engineers their largest lead at 6-3, but Pecora would respond with two goals in the final 3:32 to make it a one-goal game at the half. The senior scored the Pride's first goal in nearly 15 minutes as he finished on the run down the right alley at 3:32 and later got his hands free after beating his man to his left for a unassisted goal with 14 seconds left on the clock.
After Jack Montinaro (Riverside, Conn.) and Joe Hawley (Poulsbo, Wash.) traded goals in the opening three-plus minutes of the third, MIT used goals from Monahemi and Vandenberg to regain a three-goal edge. Springfield would respond with goals from Patrick Watson (Franklin, Mass.) and Pecora with 3:19 on the clock before Mantinaro and Santoro pushed the visitors cushion back to 11-8 heading into the final quarter.
Springfield erupted for five goals in the fourth quarter, needing just five shots to score their goals, and got the scoring started just 35 seconds into the frame when Habich went behind his back for his first marker of the night. Glover added a man-up goal just under two minutes later and Schuette beat Drexler-Bruce between his legs at 10:15 to knot the game at 11-all. Mark Heatzig (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Habich again traded goals to make it 12-all, before Westley scored with just 59 seconds remaining. Matt D'Andrea (Cheshire, Conn.) came up with a critical face-off win, and after the Pride whistled for a timeout, Glover delivered an incredible feed to Habich, who made no mistake along the crease for his third goal of the quarter to force overtime.
After MIT came up empty with two possessions in overtime, the Engineers were whistled for a tripping penalty with 1:08 on the clock. A patient offensive set resulted in McCarthy getting the ball on the left wing and the senior made the most of his opportunity, burying the game-winning goal to send the Pride back to the conference championship game.
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