SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WNEGoldenBears.com)–Under heavy rain for portions of the game, host Western New England University used a seven-goal run at the end of the first half and for the start of the second to pull away from Eastern Connecticut State University in a 16-10 win during the first round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Lacrosse Championship at Golden Bear Stadium on Wednesday.
The Golden Bears improve to 12-6 on the season and will now face Nazareth College (15-4), which was a 25-4 winner at home versus Castleton State College, in the second round on Saturday. The Warriors, meanwhile, end their season at 10-8.
Eastern Connecticut was led by Tyler Fresen with a game high five points on three goals and two assists, while Mike Devine posted three goals among four points.
With Western New England trailing 5-4 in the second quarter, Knapp scored his second goal of the game to tie it with 6 minutes and 41 seconds left. Then within a 49-second span, junior Adam Knapton (3 points, 5 ground balls) notched his team-leading 25th goal of the season and Knapp found the back of the net again to give the Golden Bears a 7-5 lead going into halftime.
The Golden Bears didn’t let up in the second half, as senior midfielder Corey Johnson, senior James Reardon, Lawton and Bota completed a 7-0 run before Trevor Morrissette’s tally with 6 seconds left gave Eastern its only goal of the third quarter. Western New England led 11-6.
The Golden Bears also held advantages in shots (44-31), shots on goal (26-17), ground balls (31-24), turnovers (19-27) and clears (25-of-28 to 22-of-28).
Western New England senior Aaron Harris had a huge game defensively with four ground balls and four caused turnovers to go along with his first goal of the season. Defenseman Jack Liacos chipped in four ground balls, and freshman David Cedrone shined at the face-off “X” in the second half by winning 7 of 11 draws to help the Golden Bears jump-start the offense to pull away.
Eastern defenseman Travis Tiger posted four ground balls and three caused turnovers, and Josh Dubinsky went 16-9 at the “X”.