Bangor, ME – Husson University's men's lacrosse team came through with a close victory, surpassing the Mariners of Maine Maritime 10-7 on a rain-soaked Boucher Field this afternoon. The victory, Husson's second over MMA this season, will send the Eagles to the conference championship where they'll face Castleton State who won their semifinal today as well. The game will be played this Saturday at Castleton, VT.
The Eagles were led by Chris Pelletier (Rome, ME) who came off the bench to score a hat trick, Alex Ryan (Northfield, NH) also came through off the pine netting a pair. Matt Sweeney (Norwood, MA) completed the three-headed monster in the Husson midfield by tying Ryan's two points with a pair of nifty assists, and playing strong on the defensive end as well causing 3 turnovers. Two Mariner players scored three points each as they were trying to mount the comeback, Brian Corain (Berwick, ME) scored 2 goals and an assist, while Andrew DiSalvo (Glastonbury, CT) had the opposite scoreline, netting one while assisting on two. Erik Milles (Bangor, ME) played well despite the loss, stopping 19 of the 29 shots he saw on the cage.
Husson scored first on a Pelletier rip from outside that got in just before the first minute came off the clock, and the Eagles took a lead at 14:07. That goal started a run as Dillon Shaw (Augusta, ME) won the ensuing face-off and went straight to the net beating Milles and putting the home team up by 2 just 1:01 into the game. Ben Landry (Lewiston, ME) scored another one 37 seconds later to give Husson a 3-0 edge. Mitch Heaps (Felton, PA) scored the next Eagle goal at 10:36 in the first, and it looked as though the Eagles would run away with it. Maine Maritime continued to battle, and eventually got their first shot on net with 1:48 to play in the first quarter, and that would get in for the Mariners, cutting the lead back to 4-1. In the second quarter, Husson scored the first three, the first from Tony Diaz (Brunswick, ME) in close as he became the 5th different Eagle to score in the game. Pelletier sniped in two more from outside to give Husson their biggest lead of the day as they went up 7-1. MMA got one back when Keiley found the back of the net with 4:43 left to go in the half, but that would be it for the first two quarters as Husson took a 7-2 lead into the intermission.
The Mariners came out hotter than ever in the third quarter, scoring 5 goals in the third quarter to tie things up. MMA took advantage of a man-up opportunity and DiSalvo scored his first one with 9:28 in the quarter, and then the junior attacker made the right pass 26 seconds later when he found Todd Murphy (Middlesex, VT) who finished the play, cutting the lead to 7-4. Keiley scored his second goal with 7:44 left in the 3rd and the team in yellow was riding their newfound momentum. Senior Wade Mondoux (North Berwick, ME) battled hard in front of the circle and got a nice pass from DiSalvo to come to within one at 4:24 in the third. Corain scored his second goal off a rebound that he stuffed back in to tie the game at 7 with 3:44 left in the quarter, and things would stay knotted as the game moved into the final frame.
Despite losing his voice, head coach Tim Murphy pleaded with his team to keep battling, and about 9 minutes into the 4th quarter, the Eagles responded as Sweeney found Nick Brown (Fort Worth, TX) at the point for a deep strike to put Husson back on top. Ryan came up huge, closing things out with two unanswered goals, the first one came off an assist by Ben Potter (Chula Vista, CA) where Ryan took a punishing shot that proved worthwhile as his shot found twine. Ryan's next goal came off Sweeney's second dime at the 1 minute mark, and that was all they'd need, downing the Mariners 10-7.
After the game, the team was excited, but they are looking intently at this weekend's contest. Coach Murphy was quick to give MMA their due before turning the focus completely over to the Spartans, and he had this to say after the game, "We knew Maine Maritime would come out at some point, they gave us all we could handle I the third quarter. I'm very happy that our guys responded with their backs to the wall. We're excited going into this weekend." The Eagles will take some time to celebrate their first NAC Semifinal in program-history before coming back to work with their eyes set on the title. The Eagles will travel to Castleton this Saturday, with gametime yet to be determined.