AMHERST, Mass. – The No. 9 Amherst College men's lacrosse team used three second half goals by Chris Albanese '17 and two each from Kane Haffey '16 and Dylan Park '16 to help the Jeffs edge No. 20 Wesleyan University in a tightly contested NESCAC and Little Three tilt at Pratt Field on Wednesday evening.
With the win, Amherst improves to 9-1 on the season, 4-1 in league play, while Wesleyan moves to 6-4 overall, 3-2 in NESCAC action.
Amherst junior Quinn Moroney tabbed five assists in Wednesday's contest and has now tied Devin Acton '14 as the program's "modern era" all-time points leader with 222 points. Acton amassed his 222 career points between 2011 and 2014.
Wesleyan drew first blood 8:34 into the first quarter to highlight a four-goal first period for the Cardinals. Jackson Arnold capitalized with a man-up goal, before Amherst answered through Matt Killian '17 who beat Wesleyan goalie Justin Schick just 34 seconds later following a feed from Sam Lawlor '16. Three straight goals by the Cardinals, including markers by Nate Ryan, Harry Stanton (from Arnold) and Matt Prezioso with an extra man, lifted Wesleyan's lead to 4-1 with 4:25 left in the first frame. The first of Albanese's four strikes came 15 seconds later after he received a beautiful dish from Moroney to make it 4-2 after 15 minutes of play.
In the second period, Quincy McDougal '15 pulled the Jeffs to within one (4-3) at the 8:13 mark, before Niall Devaney responded for Wesleyan with a goal at 6:53. Amherst's Michael Litner '16 and the Cardinals' Ben Shively then exchanged scores to make it 6-4 with 3:47 to play in the half. Kevin Curry '15 found the back of the net for the Purple & White just 20 ticks later to make it 6-5, but Ryan contributed his second goal of the game with 2:10 remaining in the quarter to give the visitors a slim, 7-5 edge at intermission.
After Stephen Dodd put Wesleyan ahead by three with a goal at the 12:29 mark of the third stanza following a dish from Lyle Mitchell, the Jeffs rallied for four straight goals as Charlie Gill '16 found Ian Kadish '18 (12:05) and Albanese (10:04) to make it 8-7. Park's marker at the 8:19 mark knotted the game at 8-8, before an Albanese's man-up goal with 3:41 on the clock in the third quarter gave Amherst its first lead of the contest at 9-8. Back-to-back scores by Stanton and Ryan (from David Murphy) quickly pushed the lead back to Wesleyan, before Killian fired in his second of the game as Gill dealt his third assist of the quarter with 36 seconds left to make it 10-10 heading into the final 15 minutes.
Back-to-back goals by Albanese and Haffey – both assisted by Moroney – increased the Jeffs' advantage to two goals (12-10) with just over 11 minutes to play, but the Cardinals were able to respond as Taylor Ghesquiere and Devaney each netted a goal to make it 12-12 at the 7:47 mark. Moroney then found Haffey, and Gill assisted Park to give the Purple & White a 14-12 lead with 5:51 to play in regulation. Dodd pulled Wesleyan back to within a goal following a feed from Prezioso, but it was not enough as the Jeffs were able fend off a late surge by the Cardinals. Moroney and Gill combined for nine of the team's 10 assists in the game.
Both goalkeepers were outstanding in the contest as Amherst's Cody Tranbarger '17 collected 13 saves, while Schick made 14 stops. At the faceoff dot, Kadish was 21-of-28, while Curry led all players with eight groundballs. Killian, Kadish and Rob Butko '16 followed with five groundball pickups each, while Ryan Cassidy '16 led Amherst with three caused turnovers.
Jared Jacobs and Kevin Campbell led Wesleyan with five groundballs each, while Campbell added five caused turnovers.
Amherst returns to NESCAC and Little Three action Saturday, April 4 when it travels to Williams College for a 1 p.m. contest.