Men’s lacrosse: Bates holds off Middlebury’s comeback attempt

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Late in the game, Bates’ Charlie Fay attempts to get through Middlebury’s Clay Hunt (right) and Ben Catt deep in Middlebury’s end of the field.

LEWISTON — Bates College men’s lacrosse coach Peter Lasagna called Saturday’s 15-12 win at Garcelon Field over fellow NESCAC opponent Middlebury College a “scary win.”

Why so scary?

With Bates up 11-4 at halftime, the Panthers outscored the Bobcats 7-1 in the third quarter to pull within one to start the fourth.

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“They are a really good team and a proud program,” Lasagna said. “We knew they were not going going away, they did not. They certainly got the better of it in the second half. Then we were able to come back, get our stuff together and make some plays to secure a scary win.”

The win improved the Bobcats, No. 4 in the latest USILA coaches poll, to 10-0 overall and 7-0 in the NESCAC. They currently sit first in the NESCAC standings. Middlebury falls to 4-7 (2-5 NESCAC).

The second half started like the first half for Bates as Kyle Weber opened the scoring 33 seconds in to give the Bobcats a 12-4 lead. It was his fifth and final goal of the game.

Parker Lawlor started Middlebury’s comeback with two goals exactly two minutes apart. His first came 3:51 in, and his second goal crossed the line at 5:51, making it 12-6. Matthew O’Neal cut the deficit to 12-7 just past the midway point of the third, and just before the 10-minute mark, Wes Quinzani got the Panthers within four. At the 11:42 mark, Danny Jacobs notched his third goal of the afternoon to cut the lead to three.

“It wasn’t a motivational message, it was a ‘get-back-to-basics message,” Middlebury coach Dan Campbell said of his halftime message. “We weren’t doing anything right in the first half and, granted, they were playing very well. Bates did a heck of a job, we weren’t executing anything at either side of the field.”

Luke Peterson’s goal to get Middlebury within two forced Lasagna to call a timeout.

“I have learned over time if you call a timeout at the beginning of the run, your guys are a little more shell-shocked than you want them to be,” Lasagna said. “Our philosophy is, we want to let them play through it. It got to the point when it was a two-goal game, I felt I needed to settle them down. We came out and did some nice things after that.”

The timeout didn’t quite kill the Panthers’ momentum. Jacobs scored his final goal of the afternoon and Middlebury was within one to start the fourth quarter.

The Bobcats found their offensive ways to start the fourth when Matt Chlastawa potted his first goal of the quarter and the game 1:42 in. Clarke Jones scored his second of the game to give the Bobcats a 14-11 lead just past the six minute mark. Chlastawa notched his second goal of the game 40 seconds after Jones’ goal 6:44 into the fourth quarter.

Middlebury went back on the attack, but Mitchell Drake made two of his 12 saves in the Bates goal to keep the Bobcats lead at 15-11.

“(Drake) did well, their defense and goalie played very well, I thought,” Campbell said. “They got the stops when it counted. Hats off to them.”

A.J. Kucinski potted the Panthers’ 12th goal with a little over four minutes remaining.

Bates got off to a a great start to the game particularly in their transition game, going up 4-1 in the opening frame. Charlie Fay opened the scoring before Weber notched his first of the game to make it 2-0 Bobcats. Cedric Rhodes put Middlebury on the board before Jones scored his first goal and Weber closing out the quarter with his second goal.

“Again, that’s when we are at our best, when we are running up and down the field,” Lasagna said.

Wes Shrewsbury started the scoring for Bates in the second quarter for a 5-1 lead before Jacobs scored his first of the afternoon. Two goals by Fay, a goal by Weber and another from Matt Kelleher put Bates up 9-2 with a little over five minutes remaining in the second quarter.

Jacob scored a man up goal for the Panthers third goal and Lawlor notching his first goal. Weber and Sean Clark closed out the scoring for Bates in the first half.

Bates will be on a 10-day break before facing No.2 and also-unbeaten Tufts (11-0, 6-0 NESCAC).

nfournier@sunjournal.com

Bates’ Charlie Fay and Andrew Melvin celebrate after Melvin’s goal.Middlebury’s Jon Hurvitz (left) and Parker Lawlor try to trap Bates’ Matt Chlastawa behind their goal.

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