Bates men’s lacrosse stuffs Amherst to reach NCAA quarterfinals

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LEWISTON — The Bates College men’s lacrosse trio of Charlie Fay, Kyle Weber and Matt Chlastawa call themselves “Two-and-a-half men” — Fay is 6-foot-4, Weber stands 6-foot-2 and Chlastawa tips the tape at just 5-foot-6.

On Saturday, two-and-a-half men gave Amherst College all it could handle in the teams’ NCAA round of 16 playoff matchup.

The three players combined to score 21 of the Bobcats’ 26 goals in a 26-14 victory over the Mammoths. 

Chlastawa led the way with nine goals, which tied Weber’s mark for most goals by a Bates player in a single game. Weber set that mark earlier this season, also against Amherst, on March 12. Mike D’Addario also had nine goals in a game in 1997.

“As a team, coach (Peter Lasagna) always talks about peaking at the right time,” Chlastawa said. “I couldn’t think of a better time of playing the best lacrosse (of the season).”

Fay had a career game — setting the school’s career scoring record in the process. His eight goals on the afternoon put him at 160 for his career. Shane Kororuda (1992-95) held the previous mark with 158. Fay also surpassed the 70-goal plateau for the season — he now has 72.

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Weber, meanwhile, chipped in with four goals.

“As we have talked about on this field number of times, we have a lot of people you have to defend,” Bates coach Peter Lasagna said. “If you are going to leave someone open, we are going to find them.”

The victory lifts the Bobcats (16-1) into the NCAA quarterfinals where they will face NESCAC rival Wesleyan on Wednesday. Wesleyan won the NESCAC championship this past Sunday at Bates College. The Bobcats defeated Wesleyan 15-14 on March 5.

It took a little over three minutes for a goal to be scored in the game, but once they started going in, they kept going in. Chlastawa gave Bates the early 1-0 lead before Colin Minicus tied it. Burke Smith and Andrew Melvin gave Bates a 3-1 lead.

Jimmy McAfee scored for Amherst (13-5).

Bates’ lead jumped to 6-2 as Fay, Smith and Weber all scored just past the 10-minute mark. Evan Wolf cut the deficit to 6-3. Fay stretched the lead to 8-3 with a pair of goals 16 seconds apart.

“Sometimes you start to feel it,” Fay said. “I had a lot of shots early and they started to fall. You got to keep shooting eventually they will start hitting. That’s what happened.”

The Mammoths made their run beginning with McAfee’s second goal of the contest with 38 seconds remaining in the first quarter to cut the deficit to 8-4. The momentum carried into the second quarter as Minicus picked up his second goal of the game 42 seconds in. Andrew Ford, Jack Norton and Wolf tied the game at eight.

The run refocused the Bobcats, and they finished the second quarter on a 7-1 run. Chlastawa notched his second of the game to give Bates the 9-8 lead followed by a goal from Weber. Fay potted the next two goals. The trio capped the run with one goal each as Bates stretched the lead to 15-8.

Jake Norton capped off the scoring in the first half, notching the Manmoth’s ninth goal.

Bates displayed a defensive clinic in the third quarter, shutting Amherst out while scoring eight goals of its own. Chlastawa scored four of his nine goals in the quarter. Fay added a pair while Weber had one and Clarke Jones notched his only goal of the game.

“I mean, it was really just moving off the ball,” Chlastawa said. “I didn’t realize I actually had nine (goals), but the offense as a whole was working well. We were moving the ball hot and I found myself in open places.”

Freshman goalie Rob Strain made three of his 15 saves in the quarter. His teammates in front of him created seven turnovers while picking up 16 ground balls. Amherst only had seven ground balls in the third quarter.

Bates scoring run extended to nine in a row when Melvin found the back of the net for the second time on the afternoon 4:26 into the fourth quarter.

Amherst kept fighting and took advantage of man up situations and went on a run of their own as they scored four man up goals in a row. Brogan Mahon got things started and Norton scored the next three. Mahon finished the 5-0 run to cut the deficit to 24-14.

“Our defense played great, I thought Rob Strain played very well in the goal,” Lasagna said. “I would have not liked to be a man down as many times as we were in the fourth quarter, but we survived.

“They also went to a ten-man ride and it gave us trouble. They got the ball back number of times on a ten man ride and a lot of flags were flying in the fourth quarter. Again, survive and advance.”

The Bobcats settled down for the final three-and-a-half minutes of the contest and Chlastawa capped the scoring off with his final two goals.

nfournier@sunjournal.com

Bate’ Kyle Weber, along with teammate Charlie Fay, celebrates a first quarter goal.

Bates player come together to celebrate a goal in the third quarter.Bates goalie Rob Strain gets ready for a shot by Amhers’s Jack Norton.Bates’ Clarke Jones is held by Amherst’s Andrew Ford behind the net.Defended by Amherst’s Drew Altizer and Rod Castro, Bates’ Charlie Fay tries but fails to get a shot off in the closing seconds of the first half.Bates’ Wes Shrewsbury gets his stick ripped out of his hands by Amherst’s Andrew Ford.With 12:48 eft in the game, up 23-9, Bates head coach Peter Lasagna surveys the field.With Amherst’s Jack Wolff and Sam Chen defending, Bates’ Dahnique Brown-Jones gets through for an opportunity to score.Jubilant Bates fans ham it up late in the game.

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