PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The #17-ranked Endicott men's lacrosse team rallied behind a seven-point game from junior midfielder Jeremy Morgan (Lake Panamoka, N.Y.) and 16 saves between the pipes by sophomore goalie Cameron Bell (Falmouth, Mass.) as the Gulls defeated NESCAC opponent Middlebury 14-12 at Stevenson Field on the campus of Brown University on Tuesday afternoon.
Endicott (6-2, 2-0 CCC) improved to 2-1 against NESCAC teams in 2014 having won over Connecticut College and lost to Amherst earlier in the season. The Gulls, who won their first game over Middlebury in program history, were facing Middlebury for the first time since 2005 and for just the third time overall. The team's two previous meetings came in the NCAA Tournament in 2001 and 2005.
Morgan shattered his career-high with seven points on six goals and one assist to lead an Endicott offense that converted 56% of their on-target shots into goals. Four of Morgan's goals came in the first half and both of his tallies in the second half helped the Blue and Green maintain a two-goal advantage. Morgan' s assist also came in the fourth quarter as he found junior midfielder Harrison Cotter (Lordship, Conn.) for a man-advantage goal to make it a 12-10 game.
Bell was under constant fire throughout the game by a Middlebury attack that narrowly outshot Endicott 40-36. Bell put up a season-high 16 saves, however, as he improved to 6-2 as the team's starting goalie.
Middlebury's offense was led by sophomore Jack Rautiola (Acton, Mass.) who had a team-high five points on three goals and two assists as well as sophomore Jon Broome (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) who had four goals.
The Panthers trailed 3-1 after the first quarter of play, but battled back in the second to take the lead at 6-5 with 4:40 left until halftime on a Quinn Cronan (Winchester, Mass.) goal. Middlebury took a two-goal lead just 35 seconds later on Broome's third goal of the second quarter but Endicott came back with two straight by Morgan, a man-down score from Colin Bannon (Westport, Conn.) and another off a pass from Joshua Tordik (Sayville, N.Y.).
Endicott would go into halftime with an 8-7 lead as junior Nick Pinciaro (Beverly, Mass.) beat the goalie for the first of his two goals with 48 ticks left on the clock. Pinciaro also opened up the scoring 9:48 into the second half on his second unassisted goal of the game. Goals by Middlebury's Rautiola, from Tim Giarrusso (Hingham, Mass.), and Morgan , from Bannon again.
With a 10-8 lead to start the fourth quarter, Middlebury quickly pulled within one as sophomore Jack Cleary (Bethesda, Md.) squeaked a goal by Bell. The two teams exchanged goals with Panthers midfielder Brian Ayers (Southborough, Mass.) making it a 12-11 game with just 1:56 remaining. Endicott provided one final surge as unassisted goals by Morgan and Cotter gave the Gulls their largest lead of the game, 14-11, with just 43 seconds left in the game.
Rautiola scored with 18 seconds left to complete his hat trick but it was not enough as Endicott held on for the 14-12 triumph.
Endicott owned an 18-to-30 face-off advantage with freshman Tommy Hughes (Coram, N.Y.) controlling the "x". Hughes scooped a game-high 13 ground balls with long-stick midfielder Will Farfalla (Glen Rock, N.J.) adding two ground balls. The Gulls held a 37-24 ground ball advantage over Middlebury.
For the Panthers, freshman defender Jack DeFrino (Norwalk, Conn.) caused two turnovers and totaled four ground balls. Fellow defenseman Cal Williams (Wayland, Mass.) had a team-high five ground balls with a caused turnover in the loss.
Endicott will look to make it three wins in-a-row on Saturday, March 29th as they face off with CCC opponent Nichols (2-4) at 2:30 PM. The Gulls at 15-0 all-time against the Bison including last season's 20-9 win during the regular season at home. Middlebury will play NESCAC rival Amherst on Saturday for a 2:00 PM face-off.