Men’s Lacrosse Falls in NESCAC Finals, Still in Hunt for National Title
Issue   |   Tue, 05/05/2015 - 23:51

Despite falling in last Sunday’s NESCAC championship to rival Tufts, the Amherst men’s lacrosse team received a bid to the NCAA tournament and will continue its season.

On Saturday, May 2, the Jeffs faced fifth-seeded Bates in the NESCAC semifinal at Pratt Field. The purple and white had an exciting 10-8 victory over the Bobcats in which sophomore goalie Cody Tranbarger made 17 saves and Chris Albanese ’17 had a game-high four goals.

Bates put the first goal on the board just over a minute into the first quarter. The Jeffs responded, as Jack Cahill ’18 and Dylan Park ’16 added a goal each to make the score 2-1. Bates managed another goal at the 3:03 mark, and the first 15 minutes of play left the teams tied at 2-2.

Amherst was able to take the lead in the second quarter. Rob Butko ’16 fired one into the back of the net with 13:45 to play in the half. Albanese followed shortly after, putting one away off of a feed from Quinn Moroney ’16. Bates replied with a goal to cut the Amherst lead to 4-3. Two minutes later, Albanese capitalized on a man-up opportunity and notched Amherst’s fifth goal off a helper from Charlie Gill ’16. Park tallied his second goal of the game at the 7:07 mark, but Bates replied with two goals to bring the game back within one. Connor Sheehan ’18 found Kane Haffey ’16 for the final goal of the half with just 59 seconds to play, and Amherst led 7-5 at the close of 30 minutes.

Bates didn’t let up in the second half. The Bobcats put away a sixth goal after a 1:29 into the third. Amherst responded as Mike Litner ’16 found Albanese for his third of the game, while Haffey followed with an unassisted goal at the 11:12 mark. Bates found the back of the net with just under five minutes to play in the quarter, and the Jeffs entered the fourth quarter up by two.

It was a scoreless beginning to the quarter, but Bates cut the Jeffs’ lead to one goal with 5:13 left in regulation. Amherst capitalized on a man-up opportunity a minute later when Haffey dished one to Albanese for the final goal of the game.

On the defensive end of the field, Ryan Cassidy ’16 led the team with five ground balls, while Butko and Connor Crump ’16 tallied four each. Tranbarger and the Jeffs were successful on 25 of their 27 clears. The win allowed Amherst to advance to the finals to face Tufts on Sunday afternoon.

Despite Tranbarger’s 17 saves on the day, the Jeffs suffered a 16-4 loss to the Jumbos in the NESCAC championship. Tufts came out hot in the first quarter, taking a 4-0 lead before the Jeffs scored with 5:42 left in the quarter. Moroney dished a feed to Albanese for the Jeffs’ first and only score of the half. The goal was quickly followed by another Jumbo score. Tufts led 5-1 after 15 minutes of play.

The second quarter was again in favor of the Jumbos, who scored four goals to secure a 9-1 lead at halftime. In the third stanza, the Jumbos put a 10th goal on the board before Amherst responded with one of their own. Gill found Max Keely ’18 for an impressive goal. The Jumbos put two more away before the end of the third, bringing their lead to 12-2.

Tufts notched two more goals at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Jeffs managed to add a third goal when Butko brought the ball downfield and fed to Albanese for his second goal of the game. Tufts added another two goals, but the purple and white notched the last goal of the game at the 1:22 mark. Moroney capitalized on the man-up opportunity and dished to Albanese for the goal, leaving the final score at 16-4.

Amherst will get another chance to extend their season despite the loss on Sunday. The fifth-ranked Jeffs will host Castleton State on Wednesday, May 6 in the first round of NCAA tournament action.