BEVERLY, Mass. – The Endicott men's lacrosse team is on to the Second Round of the NCAA Division III Tournament for the fourth time in program history after the Gulls defeated Keene State 13-10 on Wednesday night in their opening round match up 13-10 at Endicott Stadium. The Blue and Green move on to face NESCAC rival Tufts on Saturday at the Jumbos' Bello Field at a time to be announced on Thursday morning.
Endicott (15-4), who earned an at-large bid into the national tournament, benefited from four-point games by a trio offensive players in juniors Joshua Tordik (Sayville, N.Y.) and Nick Pinciaro (Beverly, Mass.) as well as freshman Colin Bannon (Westport, Conn.) as well as a Gulls defense that kept Keene State off the scoreboard during seven man-up opportunities. Endicott junior midfielder and leading scorer Harrison Cotter (Lordship, Conn.) notched three goals in the game including the go-ahead goal 2:52 into the fourth quarter that broke a 9-9 tie.
Junior midfielder Jonathan Morgan (Lake Panamoka, N.Y.) scored the game-winner at the 8:50 mark of the fourth quarter, the second of a three goal streak by Endicott, to put the Blue and Green on top 11-9. The Owls had battled back in the third quarter, outscoring Endicott 4-1 in the period, to erase an 8-5 halftime deficit to go up by one (9-8) before settling on a tie game going into the fourth.
In the third quarter, Keene State came out of the halftime break with back-to-back goals by junior defenseman Kevin Carey (Mahopac, N.Y.) and sophomore attacker Tyler McKelvie (Acton, Mass.), three total, to cut the Endicott lead down to one at 8-7. Cotter got one of those goals back at the 8:25 mark but the Owls rallied once again with tallies by McKelvie and freshman attacker Tyler Reilly (Grafton, Mass.) to tie the game up for the first time since it was 2-2 with 1:04 left in the first quarter.
After goals by Cotter, man-up from Tordik, Morgan, and Bannon, Keene State made it a 12-10 game as freshman attacker Robert Hart (Londonderry, N.H.) caught a pass from freshman midfielder Bryan Rotatori (Grafton, Mass.) and buried it past the Endicott goalie. With just over three minutes left in the game, Pinciaro scored an important insurance goal off Tordik's second assist of the game to cap off the scoring at 13-10.
Keene State had an opportunity to take advantage of a three-minute, locked-in man-advantage in the second quarter trailing by just two goals (6-4) but a stingy Endicott defense not only held the Owls offense in check but fueled man-down goal by Cotter, off a field-long pass from Gulls sophomore goalie Cameron Bell (Falmouth, Maine) after a save. Bell improved to 15-4 on the season due in large part to 14 saves and five ground balls between the pipes.
Bell's counterpart, Keene State sophomore Dylan Florian (West Hartford, Conn.), suffered the loss (8-5) despite making 13 saves and scooping three ground balls.
Endicott's defense was led by three caused turnovers from junior long-stick midfielder Will Farfalla (Glen Rock, N.J.) as well as two caused turnovers apiece for defensive midfielders Peter Erickson (Yarmouth, Maine) and Chris Janelle (Falmouth, Maine). For the Owls, senior Leo Mullin (Acton, Mass.) and junior Zach Tulley (Arapahoe, Colo.) both tied for a game-high three caused turnovers.
Endicott controlled the "x" with freshman Tommy Hughes (Coram, N.Y.) winning 18-of-25 face-offs with 13 ground balls. The Keene State defense, however, forced Hughes into four turnovers including one at the start of the second quarter that led to a Hart goal to make it a 4-4 game 20 seconds into the period.
Endicott will now face Tufts, a team they have already played once this season, on Saturday in the NCAA Division III Second Round. The Jumbos defeated the Gulls 18-13 at home back on April 8th in a matchup of the country's eighth-ranked Tufts versus #15 Endicott. Tufts is currently ranked #6 in NCAA Division III while Endicott's owns the #16 spot of 20 ranked teams in nation.