AMHERST, Mass. – The third-seeded Amherst College men's lacrosse team received three goals from Evan Wolf '19, but Middlebury College's Danny Jacobs netted his fourth goal of the game with 1:41 to play in regulation and goalie Charles Midgley made three of 24 saves in the closing moments to help lift the sixth-seeded Panthers to a thrilling, 12-11 victory in Saturday afternoon's NESCAC Championship Quarterfinal contest at Pratt Field at Lehrman Stadium.
With the loss, Amherst moves to 12-4 overall and will await an at-large berth to the NCAA Division III Championship. Middlebury advances to the NESCAC Semifinals next Saturday, May 6 which will be hosted by top-seeded Bates College.
In a game that was fiercely contested throughout, Middlebury netted the game's first goal at the 13-minute mark of the first quarter when Jacobs scored an unassisted goal. Eleven seconds later Peyton Lane '20 equalized for Amherst, but the Panthers regained the lead just 10 seconds after that when Jacobs found the back of the net again to make it 2-1. Jack Norton '19 and Colin Minicus '20 then tallied back-to-back markers for the Mammoths to make it 3-2 in favor of Amherst with 5:29 to play in the opening stanza before Matthew O'Neal scored on a feed from A.J. Kucinski with 3:52 to play to make it 3-3 after one quarter of action.
After playing nearly a full quarter of scoreless lacrosse in the second frame, Amherst broke the deadlock when Chris Albanese '17 scored on the man-advantage after receiving a pass from Connor Sheehan '19 to give the hosts a 4-3 edge with 3:31 to play in the first half. Chase Goree capitalized on a dish from Frank Coslito with just under a minute to play for Middlebury to make it 4-4, before a breakaway goal following a beautiful pass from Uzoma Egbuchulam '17 allowed Wolf to net the go-ahead goal with one tick left on the clock as Amherst held a 5-4 lead at intermission.
Two early goals by the Mammoths allowed Amherst to stake a 7-4 cushion in the third frame, as Brogan Mahon '19 scored on a feed from Minicus, while Brett Inglesby '18 collected a score following a pass from Wolf. The Panthers chipped away the lead as Jacobs notched his third goal of the contest on the man-advantage, while Parker Lawlor and Kucinski added scoring strikes of their own to even the game at 7-7 heading to the fourth period.
A back-and-forth final session saw neither team take more than a one-goal lead as Middlebury matched each score by Amherst to make it 10-10 with 8:24 to play. Wolf, Jimmy McAfee '20 (from Wolf) and Wolf again (from Minicus) scored for the Mammoths, while Henry Riehl answered three straight times for the Panthers. Riehl then assisted a go-ahead score by Kucinski to make it 11-10 in favor of the visitors with 7:33 to play. Albanese found the back of the cage at the 3:42 mark to knot the game at 11-11 with 3:42 left in regulation, before Jacobs fired in Middlebury's 12th goal with 1:41 on the clock. From there, Midgley completed a sterling effort between the pipes, turning aside an attempt from Norton and two from Albanese to preserve the Panthers' victory.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Dylan Finazzo '20 was 16-for-26 in faceoffs and picked up nine ground balls, while Cody Tranbarger '17 and Jordan Sanford '19 added five ground balls each.
- Sanford was also stellar in defense, causing four turnovers, while Rod Castro '20 added three caused turnovers. Tranbarger made 10 saves in the loss between the pipes.
- Middlebury was led by Jack DeFrino's five ground balls, while Midgley added three pickups. Midgley was terrific in goal, making 24 saves, including seven in both the second and fourth quarters.