Strong Second Half Rally Falls Short as Wesleyan Edged by No. 7 Middlebury, 9-8 in Overtime

Photo by Matt Montanez '17
Photo by Matt Montanez '17

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Harry Stanton '16 scored three goals in the fourth quarter to force overtime, but a Middlebury goal just 50 seconds into the extra quarter gave the visiting Panthers a 9-8 victory over the Wesleyan University men's lacrosse team Saturday afternoon at Citrin Field. 

RECORDS
Wesleyan: 3-2, 1-2 NESCAC
Middlebury: 3-2, 2-1 NESCAC

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Stanton scored three of his four goals in the fourth quarter as the Cardinals held Middlebury scoreless in the final 15 minutes of regulation to force overtime. However, despite the momentum in Wesleyan's favor, Middlebury had possession to start the extra quarter and took advantage of a man-up opportunity as Kyle Soroka found Jack Gould for the game-winner at the 3:10 mark.
  • Wesleyan erased a three-goal halftime deficit and were led offensively by Stanton whose four goals were a game-high. Quentin DellaFera '16, Niall Devaney '16, Taylor Ghesquiere '18 and Carter Hawthorne '19 each scored one goal apiece, and Andres Rodriguez '18 led the team defensively with two caused turnovers. Ted Bergman '17 had an impressive day in net and stopped nine shots, while grabbing five ground balls.
  • Gould led Middlebury with three goals, while Henry Riehl added two. Jack Cleary, Cedric Rhodes, Joseph Zelkowitz and Sean Carroll each scored as well, and Zelkowitz led all players with seven ground balls. Will Ernst picked up the win in goal for the Panthers and made eight saves.

FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS

  • Middlebury controlled the tempo offensively in the first quarter and outscored the Cardinals 3-0 within the first 15 minutes of action.
  • Wesleyan cut the deficit to one early in the second, however, as Ghesquiere found Devaney for the home team's first score at the 12:44 mark.
  • A little over a minute later, Devaney returned the favor as he dished the ball off to Ghesquiere to put the Cardinals within one, 3-2.
  • The Panthers went on a 2-0 run of its own on goals from Zelkowitz and Cleary, respectively, before both teams exchanged a pair of scores down the stretch to give Middlebury a 6-3 halftime lead.

SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS

  • Wesleyan scored the first two goals of the second half to cut the deficit to one as DellaFera found the back of the net at the 9:20 mark and then found Hawthorne for another score with 5:06 to play in the third quarter.
  • However, Middlebury responded with back-to-back goals in the closing minutes of the third, and a score by Gould with 20 seconds remaining put the Panthers back up by three, 8-5.
  • Wesleyan's fourth quarter rally began at the 10:57 mark when Stanton made a spectacular play in which he spun and split the defenders to find the back of the net unassisted.
  • The sophomore cut the deficit to one with 8:27 to play, and then evened the score at the 7:15 mark as he fell down with defenders on him, but managed to secure the ball and then send it to the bottom of the net as he stood up.
  • Despite strong opportunities by both teams in the closing minutes, the game would go into overtime with Middlebury keeping possession.

OVERTIME HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Panthers started the quarter with the ball, and after several passes, Soroka eventually found Gould for the man-up goal at the 3:10 mark to win the game.

UP NEXT

  • The Cardinals return to the field Tuesday, March 22 and will host non-conference opponent Clark at 7 p.m.
  • Middlebury is back in action Tuesday as well and will play at Plattsburgh State at 4 p.m.