After falling short a year ago, the Spartans left no doubt in 2015 as they scored the first six goals of the game on the way to a 10-6 victory over New England College in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Championship on Saturday evening.
Castleton earned its first NAC Title since 2013 by controlling the pace of play and outshooting the Pilgrims 34-13 in the opening 30 minutes. Overall, the Spartans picked up 42 ground balls compared to 28 for NEC and also won 15 of 20 faceoffs, with all 15 victories coming from Henry Moser.
It was a total team effort as eight different players scored goals, and no player had more than three points. Zach Davidson led the team with two goals and one assist while Nikolas Rancourt scored twice and picked up three ground balls. Sam Siegel added one goal and one assist.
Defensively, the duo of Peter Latulippe and Sam Polas each played 30 minutes in net. Latulippe made first-half three saves and allowed one goal while Polas stopped nine shots with five saves in the final 30. Edward Dotonchipped in with five ground balls and two caused turnovers.
NEC senior goalie Chris Galluzzo was outstanding in defeat, making a season-high 25 saves, including numerous point blank stops to keep the Pilgrims in the contest. Skyler Saunders paced the offense with three goals and one assist. Nick Herzog added three ground balls and two goals.
Freshman Micky Prozinski opened the scoring at 9:55 off a feed from Taylor Swarter for the 1-0 advantage.Isaac Devoid followed with a goal from Siegel less than two minutes later and Davidson made it 3-0 with 3:57 left. Siegel scored with 3:13 remaining while Rancourt and Alex Denny added to the lead in the final three minutes for a 6-0 advantage after the first quarter.
Herzog put NEC on the board at 12:23 of the second, but Rancourt scored an unassisted goal just 28 seconds later to extend the lead to 7-1. Junior Zach Devoid provided the final goal of the half with 6:22 left for an 8-1 lead at the half.
Skyler Saunders and Mike Aitoro provided the lone goals of the third quarter as the Pilgrims came out fired up and outshot Castleton 13-8 to cut the deficit to 8-3.
Back-to-back goals just 30 seconds apart early in the fourth extended the Spartan lead to 10-3. However, NEC managed to outshoot the Castleton 20-9 in the final quarter with goals from Herzog and one from Saunders trimming the lead to 10-5 with 8:51 still remaining. The defense held firm though and a Saunders goal in the final minute proved too little too late as the Spartans secured the four-goal win.
Davidson was honored as the NAC Tournament MVP while Polas and Latulippe were also named to the team for their efforts in net. Galluzzo was also selected to the All-Tournament team along with Matt Richard and Skyler Saunders.
NEC drops to 8-8 with the loss while Castleton improves to 13-5 overall. The Spartans now await their NCAA Tournament fate and will find out during the selection show on Sunday evening at 9 pm on NCAA.com
Dean Samuelson - Maine Maritime
Nicholas Betti - Maine Maritime
Zach Glazier - Husson
James Seager - Husson
Skyler Saunders - New England College
Matt Richard - New England College
Chris Galluzzo - New England College
Sam Polas - Castleton
Peter Latulippe - Castleton
Zach Davidson - Castleton - MVP
--Courtesy of Castleton Sports Information
2015 NAC MEN'S LACROSSE CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Championship • Saturday, May 2
No. 1 Castleton 10, No. 2 New England College 6 - Boxscore