Courtesy of Wesleyan Sports Information
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Four players scored three or more points for the No. 5-ranked Wesleyan University men's lacrosse team as the Cardinals claimed a 16-12 victory over SUNY Cortland in the second round of the NCAA Division III Championships on Wednesday afternoon at Jackson Field in Middletown, Conn.
Wesleyan (15-3) picked up its first-ever win over the Red Dragons (12-7), as the squad avenged a pair of NCAA losses in 2006 and 2007 to SUNY Cortland. The Cardinals have advanced to the third round of the national tournament for the second consecutive season, and play No. 8-ranked Cabrini on Saturday.
Freshman Ronan Jacoby poured in a game-high six points on five goals and one assist, while junior Scott Irwin (three goals, one assist), junior Carter Hawthorne (four assists) and senior Harry Stanton (three goals) all starred in the victory. Junior Terrence Haggerty led the charge for the Red Dragons with five goals.
- The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair, as the Red Dragons took a 1-0 lead one minute, 22 seconds into the game on a bouncing shot by junior Dean Riley, sneaking just over the stick of Cardinals sophomore goalie Otto Bohan.
- Wesleyan pulled even 53 seconds later at 1-1 on a great individual-effort play by senior Cole Turpin, as the midfielder deked Red Dragons senior midfielder Eddie Eddington and accelerated toward the goal, ripping a shot into the top-right corner.
- Sophomore Zach Zavalick, who did it all in the first quarter for the hosts, won the ensuing faceoff. Irwin made a nice move up field to find some open space on the right attacking side, and then found Stanton, who buried a goal from the middle of the zone while simultaneously falling down as a result of a check. The tally gave the Cardinals the lead for the first time at 2-1.
- It only took 11 seconds for Cortland to find the equalizer behind a low shot from graduate student Devin Phelps. Freshman Jake Kelleher orchestrated the play by flying down the middle of the field, concluding with a perfect pass to Phelps. The visitors kept applying pressure, going back in front, 3-2, with a textbook over-the-net centering pass through traffic by senior Thomas McNaney to junior Joey Panariello with 9:47 on the clock.
- The Cardinals fired back with four unanswered goals, which gave them a 6-3 advantage with 3:53 showing on the scoreboard. The run started with a man-up goal by Stanton following a series of great passing in the offensive zone, and then Jacoby gave the squad a one-goal lead with 7:50 remaining. Zavalick, who hails from Glastonbury, Conn., scored his first goal of the season 11 seconds later, winning the faceoff and going all the way down the field where he buried his second career goal into the lower-left corner. Jacoby put the finishing touches on the run, scoring off a feed by senior Taylor Ghesquiere.
- The Cardinals were clicking on all cylinders, and Cortland needed to come up with an answer. Eddington came up with a huge caused turnover in the Red Dragons' defensive zone. He then transitioned up field, spotting senior Trevor Pratt, who provided an assist on Haggerty's goal, trimming the deficit to 6-4 with one minute, 53 seconds left.
- With 48 seconds remaining in the first, Cortland senior goalie Joe Scalise made a highlight-reel save on Stanton from point-blank range during a 2-on-1 break.
- Riley picked the top-right corner with 13:01 remaining in the second quarter, pulling the Red Dragons to within one, but the Cardinals went up 7-5 on a goal by senior Ben Shively, assisted by senior Eric Meyreles.
- Cortland kept fighting back every time the Cardinals tried to take control of the game, as Haggerty cut the lead down to 7-6 with 2:21 in the half, but the Cardinals closed out the stanza with back-to-back goals. Stanton tallied a man-down goal, and then junior Christian Barker did a great job moving without the ball, streaking down the left lane where he buried a pass from Hawthorne with 55 ticks left on the scoreboard.
- The Cardinals came out hot in the second half and tallied the first three goals of the third, developing a 12-6 cushion.
- Hawthorne possessed the ball behind the net during the first minute of the half, and made an aggressive move toward the goal, before dropping off a pass to Ghesquiere, who buried a rocket from the slot, giving the Cardinals a 10-6 edge 55 seconds into the quarter.
- Irwin scored the Cardinals' 11th goal, surprising Scalise with a wrap-around shot with the clock reading 6:37. One minute, 15 seconds later, Jacoby completed his hat trick, extending the lead to 12-6, which was the squad's largest of the afternoon.
- The Red Dragons didn't back and finished the third strong with two goals in the final 42 seconds, coming off the sticks of Haggerty and Panariello.
- Irwin pushed the lead back up to 13-8 with 10:33 left in the fourth for Wesleyan, netting a goal from distance on the right side of the zone, following a crafty spin move to elude a Red Dragons' defender.
- The two teams split the next four goals, with Jacoby scoring twice for Wesleyan, and Haggerty and Phelps finding the back of the cage for Cortland, as Wesleyan held a 15-10 lead with 6:43 remaining.
- Haggerty and McNaney struck for Cortland, cutting the deficit down to 15-12 with 3:46 left, but Irwin put the Cardinals back up four with 41 seconds to play.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Ghesquiere finished with a goal and an assist for the Cardinals, while Barker, Turpin, Shively and Zavalick each tallied a point.
- McNaney posted five points on one goal and four assists for Cortland, while Phelps (two goals, two assists) and Riley (two goals, one assist) also played well.
- Bohan (13-2) earned the win in net, making a game-high 13 stops, while Scalise (12-7) suffered the loss with an 11-save performance.
- Zavalick corralled a game-high 12 ground balls, but Cortland won the overall category, 36-34. Wesleyan controlled the faceoff circle, winning 20-of-30 draws, highlighted by an exceptional 19-for-27 effort from Zavalick.
- The Cardinals held a slight edge in shots, 43-39, including a 27-25 lead in shots on target. Cortland made 17 turnovers, and Wesleyan was charged with 16.