Historic 2017 Season Comes to an End for No. 4 Wesleyan; Loses to No. 2 RIT in NCAA Semifinals

Photo by Steve McLaughlin
Photo by Steve McLaughlin

THE BASICS:

Score: RIT 22, Wesleyan 9
Records: Wesleyan (20-2); RIT (20-2)
Location: Rochester, N.Y.
Date: Sunday, May 21
Time: 1 p.m.
The Lead: The No. 4 Wesleyan University men's lacrosse team lost to No. 2 RIT in the 2017 NCAA Division III Semifinals on Sunday, 22-9. Harry Stanton '18 scored five of the team's nine goals, while Chad Levick recorded 10 points (7g, 3a) and Ryan Lee added nine (5g, 4a) for the Tigers, who advance to the championship game and will play No. 1 Salisbury for the title on Sunday, May 28 at Gillette Stadium.

FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • RIT came out hot to start the game, and after winning the opening faceoff, Lee found the back of the net just 12 seconds later.
  • At the 13:56 mark, Kyle Killen scored his first goal of the game, and just 10 seconds after, Brendan MacDonald increased the Tigers' lead to three in just over two minutes of action.
  • RIT added two more goals at the 10:59 and 9:55 marks to extend their run to five.
  • Stanton put Wesleyan on the board with 8:15 on the clock for his 82nd goal of the season.
  • Back-to-back scores by Levick at the 7:29 and 7:12 marks increased the home team's lead to six (7-1), before Taylor Ghesquiere '18 snuck one past goalie Nick Nesbitt with 3:44 to play in the quarter. However, Lee took advantage of a man-up opportunity shortly after, and Levick scored RIT's ninth goal of the quarter with 1:21 on the clock as the home team held a commanding 9-2 lead after one.
  • In the opening seconds of the second quarter, Beau Riley increased RIT's lead to eight, 10-2.
  • However, after both teams exchanged scores to maintain an eight-goal margin, Wesleyan went on a 2-0 run to end the half as Colin Uyeki '19 and Stanton scored at the 8:14 and 1:25 marks, respectively.
  • The Cardinals settled down in the second quarter and outscored RIT, 3-2, as they trailed 11-5 at the half.

SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • RIT scored the first two goals of the second half by Ben Tackett (13:59) and MacDonald (11:04).
  • After another score by Stanton cut the deficit to seven with 8:07 on the clock, the Tigers rallied with back-to-back goals in the closing minutes of the quarter as they took a commanding 15-6 lead entering the fourth.
  • The home team pulled away early in the final quarter with three consecutive goals within the first four minutes as a score by J.D. Hall capped off a 5-0 run for RIT – essentially putting the game out of reach with 11:04 to play, 18-6.
  • The Cardinals got within 10 after back-to-back goals, but were outscored 4-1 down the stretch as the Tigers claimed the 22-9 victory.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

  • Tom Dupont '17, Ghesquiere, Uyeki and Zach Zavalick '20 each scored a goal for Wesleayn. For Zavalick, that marked the first of his career, as he also went 16-26 on face offs. Dupont and Carter Hawthorne '19 each added an assist, while Zavalick led all players with eight ground balls. Defensively, Colin Malarchuk '20 caused two turnovers and Ted Bergman '17 made 10 saves in net.
  • Four players scored more than one goal for the Tigers, while seven registered more than one point. Alec Sovocool, Chandler Allen and Lee each grabbed four ground balls, and Alex Maruna, MacDonald and Lee tallied two caused turnovers apiece. Nesbitt played 50:15 minutes between the posts for the win, and made nine saves. Jon Berg saw 9:45 minutes of game time and stopped five shots.
  • RIT held a slight 40-39 edge in shots, and a 45-38 advantage in ground balls. The Cardinals won 22-of-34 face offs.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:

  • The 22 goals are the most Wesleyan has given up all year, while its nine goals tie a season-low.
  • The Cardinals are now 9-5 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, and have reached the semifinals three times.
  • RIT improves to 24-18 in the postseason, and return to the finals for the second time since 2013.
  • Wesleyan's historic 2017 season comes to an end with an incredible 20-2 overall record, and 9-1 mark in NESCAC play. The 20 overall wins and nine conference victories are both program records. The Cardinals also won the NESCAC title for the second time in program history, and the first since 2009.
  • After falling short in their season-opener to Bates, they rallied to win 20-straight games, which is also a program-best.
  • Stanton finished one of the best seasons in program history with a record 86 goals. He also added 29 assists for a total of 115 points, which fell six shy of tying Wesleyan's single-season program record for points.
  • Hawthorne finished the 2017 campaign with a program-best 55 assists, while adding 40 goals for 95 points.

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