Sheehan Nets Game-Winner in Closing Seconds, Jeffs Defeat Trinity, 14-13

Sheehan Nets Game-Winner in Closing Seconds, Jeffs Defeat Trinity, 14-13

HARTFORD, Conn. - Connor Sheehan '18 scored the game-winning goal with 54 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the fifth-ranked Amherst College men's lacrosse team to a 14-13 NESCAC win against Trinity College Wednesday night at Jessee/Miller Field. 

With the win, the Jeffs claim the conference regular-season title and earn the No. 1 seed in the NESCAC Championship for the first time in program history. They are now 14-1 overall and 9-1 in league play, while riding a six-game winning streak. Following the loss, the Bantams conclude their season with a 4-11 overall mark and 2-8 conference record.

Amherst trailed 12-10 entering the fourth quarter, but outscored Trinity 4-1 in the final 15 minutes to prevail. The Jeffs were led by first-year Max Keeley with a team-high three goals, while four others scored two each. Quinn Moroney '17 led all players with six assists, including an assist on the game-winner, and also netted a score as well. Sheehan scored his first career goal at the 10:24 mark in the fourth quarter on a man-up advantage, and later broke a 13-13 tie with :54 left on the clock. Cody Tranbarger '17 stopped 13 shots in net for the Jeffs.

The Bantams received an impressive performance from Michael McQuiston, as the junior tallied a game-high six goals. Ryan DeSimone netted two, and five others scored one apiece. Stefan Pappas dished out a team-high four assists, and JP Masaryk grabbed a game-high 10 ground balls. Daniel Badolato caused three turnovers, and Mickey Zaverucha registered 18 saves in net. 

Trinity jumped out to an early 3-0 lead within the first 4:20 of play until Matt Killian '17 ended the run at the 9:02 mark off an assist from Connor Crump '16. DeSimone increased the lead back to three just 26 seconds later, but three straight scores from Amherst over the next 4:58 knotted the game at 4-4. Michael Litner '16 gave the Jeffs their first lead of the game at the 2:29 mark of the first quarter, but DeSimone added another score with :58 remaining to even the game at 5-5 after 15 minutes of action.

It took just 24 seconds for Trinity to score in the second as Pappas and McQuistion connected for two quick scores at the 14:36 and 13:58 marks as the home squad went up by two. However, a penalty by the Bantams gave them a disadvantage, and Amherst capitalized as Moroney found Gill for the Jeffs' sixth score of the game with 12:54 to play before the break. The goal sparked a 4-0 run for the Purple & White as Keeley netted back-to-back scores, and Chris Albanese '17 added another to give Amherst a 9-7 lead at halftime.

It was all Trinity in the third quarter, however, as McQuiston found the back of the net just 50 seconds into the second half. After Rob Butko '17 upped the lead back to two, the Bantams rattled off four unanswered goals, including two more from McQuiston, as the home team took a 12-10 lead heading into the fourth. 

Amherst retaliated early in the quarter with three straight scores by Sheehan (10:24), Albanese (10:12) and Litner (5:06), all off assists from Moroney. With 3:45 to play in the game, James O'Connell of Trinity evened the score at 13-13, but Moroney once again dished off a pass that led to a score as Sheehan registered the game-winner in the closing seconds to seal Amherst's No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. 

Both teams turned the ball over 18 times, while the Jeffs went 2-for-5 on man-up opportunities and Trinity finished 0-for-2. The Bantams, however, won the faceoff battle by claiming 17-of-31 attempts. Amherst also outshot Trinity, 54-39.

The Jeffs will host eighth-seeded Colby College in the quarterfinal round of the NESCAC Championship tournament. First faceoff is slated for Saturday, April 25 at 1 p.m. at Pratt Field.