DANBURY, Conn. – A five goal difference through the first 30 minutes of play would prove to be the deciding factor as the Colonials of Western Connecticut State University (7-4, 1-1 Little East) defeated lacrosse (2-9, 0-2 Little East) by the final of 20-11 Saturday afternoon at The Western Athletic Complex in a Little East Conference contest.
Following the tough first half, the Beacons responded with two solid quarters of play recording seven goals, while the Colonials managed just four more, but that one-sided first half would come back to haunt UMB in the end. Western Connecticut got a majority of their offense from Nick Foley who finished with three goals and three assists. Ryan Foster also had a hand in the conference win for WCSU as she fired home a game-high four goals, while also assisting on two other Colonial scores.
For UMB they saw both Ryan McGoff (Charlestown, Mass.) and Pete McNichols (Norwalk, Conn.) finish with three goals, as the Beacons ended their recent scoring drought. Despite the loss, UMB managed to break back into double-figures after struggling to record 10 or more goals through the last six games.
The hat-trick marked the third of the year for McNichols and second in the last three games for the newcomer. For McGoff, his three goals and one assist tied his season high of four points.
Making a return between the pipes for UMB was senior goalie Henry Bristol (South Hadley, Mass.), who has been battling through injury the last week or so. The South Hadley native combined for 20 saves in the loss, marking the fourth time this year that the senior has recorded 20 or more stops in a contest. Bristol also finished second on the team in groundballs with six.
As a squad, UMB played a much more consistent game, as they were just edged by the Colonials in groundballs (42-39), clear attempts (25-24) and face-offs won (17-15). On the face-off "X" Xavier Donaldson (Centerville, Mass.) put together one of his best performances of the year winning 12 of the Beacons 15 face-offs. The sophomore also went on to collect a game-high seven groundballs to cap off his strong afternoon.
Of the six goals scored in the first 15 minutes of play, five were recorded in order, which gave the host Colonials a 5-0 lead through the first 12 minutes and 32 seconds of play. Getting the Beacons on the scoreboard after the very long drought was Donny Delpha (Walpole, Mass.) as he drove home his first of two goals. Ryan Foster capped off the first with a goal for WCSU to make it 6-1 with only 19 seconds left on the clock.
In the second McGoff made it a four goal contest in the first 2:38. However WCSU's attack would respond with a quick 3-0 run over the next three minutes to extend their growing lead. The Beacons would get a flurry to close out the second with McGoff and Delpha each finding the back of the cage.
The third quarter would see a combined 11 goals scored with the advantage going to the Colonials (6-5). The two teams exchanged goals early and often to kick-off the third frame with McNichols scoring two of UMB's five tallies in the first 3:29. Nick Weiss (Westfield, Mass.) and Dom Fichera (Scituate, Mass.) would also get in on the action recording back-to-back goals which at the time cut the Colonials lead to three (11-8).
Unfortunately a 4-1 run by WCSU to close out the quarter put the Beacons back into a deep hole as they trailed 15-9 going into the final 15 minutes of play. Down but not out, the Beacons got the fourth off to a strong start scoring back-to-back goals to make it just a four score game. Unfortunately those two goals would be the final of the day for UMB as WCSU closed out the contest scoring five straight to seal the win.
Lacrosse returns to action on Wednesday when they host Thomas College (Maine) at 3:30 p.m. on the Clark Athletic Center Field in their last non-conference home game of the season.