Athletics

Comeback Spoiled as Jeffs Fall to No. 13 Middlebury, 10-8

Contact: Matthew Hart

AMHERST, Mass. – Devin Acton ’14 scored his second goal of the day just seven seconds into the fourth quarter, tying the game 8-8 and capping a strong Amherst College rally, but it would not be enough as No. 13 Middlebury recovered to earn a 10-8 win in NESCAC men’s lacrosse action Saturday at Gooding Field.

The Panthers (8-1, 5-1 NESCAC) scored three times in 68 seconds and used a 4-0 second-quarter run to take an 8-3 halftime lead, but Amherst (3-6, 2-4 NESCAC) would not go quietly, controlling the third period before Acton struck twice in 91 seconds on either side of the frame’s end.

Middlebury’s Jon Broome ’16 netted a game-high three goals, including the eventual winner, as he answered Acton’s second tally early in the fourth to put the Panthers ahead to stay. With the Middlebury defense stopping numerous Lord Jeff attempts in the final frame, Scott Redmond ’13 scored the visitors’ final marker with just 4:27 remaining as goalie Nate Gaudio ’14 made five of his 14 saves in the fourth to preserve the win.

Thomas Gilligan ’16 was nearly as effective in the Amherst net, matching Gaudio with 14 stops as the Panthers narrowly outshot the Jeffs, 49-44. In addition to Acton’s two goals, Jeff Izzo ’13 had a strong day for the balanced Amherst attack, tallying a goal and two assists as the only other Jeff with multiple points.

Eric Grein ’15 staked Amherst to an early lead, picking up a ground ball then beating the defense for his first strike of the year just over a minute into the contest, but George Curtis ’14 responded for the Panthers less than three minutes later and Stew Kerr ’13 made it 2-1 for the guests as he scored on the man-up off an assist from Sean Carroll ’16 near the midway point of the opening period. Two minutes later, Spencer Macquarrie ’14 continued the Panther flurry, but Ramsey Bates ’13 stemmed the tide off an assist from Izzo just one minute following. Curtis assisted Broome for the final tally of the first with 3:34 still on the clock.

Trailing 4-2, a fraternal connection brought Amherst back within one early in the second as Quinn Moroney ’16 assisted Patrick Moroney ’14. But Middlebury took over for the remainder of the frame, with Broome assisting Mike Giordano ’13 six minutes in before goals by Christian Johansen ’16, Broome and Joel Blockowicz ’15 all within a furious span of just over a minute put the Panthers in the driver’s seat, 8-3, with 5:24 still on the clock.

With the guests’ lead at five, Amherst came out undaunted in the third, as Dylan Park ’16 struck two minutes in to cut the deficit to 8-4. After a long stretch of even play, Izzo took the reins for the Jeffs, assisting Kane Haffey ’16 with 6:10 remaining, then scoring two and half minutes later to make it a two-goal game.  With 1:24 left in the frame, Connor Crump ’16 found Acton before Amherst completed the climb back to begin the fourth as Duncan Morrissey ’14 won the opening faceoff then fed Acton for a vicious sidearm finish to tie it at eight.

While Amherst could not get over the hump, the Jeffs finished with a 29-26 edge in ground balls and a 12-for-21 showing on faceoffs thanks to Morrissey’s six grounders and 10-for-17 performance on the X. Rob Butko ’16 picked up five ground ball for the Jeffs, while Billy Chapman ’13, John Duvnjak ’13 and Giordano each tallied five to lead the Panthers’ efforts.

Amherst returns to action on Wednesday night, April 10, hosting Springfield College in a non-conference tilt at 7 p.m.

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