NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Despite a career-high 17 saves from sophomore goalie Craig Frehill (Norwell, Mass.), a goal by Riley Baxter with 5:47 left in the fourth quarter proved to be the deciding goal as the third-seeded Corsairs of UMass Dartmouth defeated lacrosse by the final of 6-5 Tuesday evening in the first round of the Little East Conference tournament.
With Tuesday's loss the Beacons end the 2014 season with an 8-10 record overall, making it the most successful season for four year head Tyler Low. The Corsairs advance to the conference tournament semi-final where they will face the second-seeded Warriors of Eastern Connecticut State University on Friday at 7 p.m. in Mansfield, CT.
In just the second meeting between the two intra-state rivals in the LEC tournament, the Beacons played perhaps their best game of the year. Just four days after being handed an 11-5 loss, the Beacons went toe-to-toe with the Corsairs.
John Powers (Marshfield, Mass.) led the attack with a pair of goals, while Donny Delpha (Walpole, Mass.) picked-up a pair of assists in the postseason loss. Jordan McPherson, Adam Niden, and Baxter each recorded a pair of goals to lead the Corsairs.
The opening quarter was controlled by UMass Dartmouth as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first nine minutes of play. MacPherson struck first for the Corsairs, followed by Niden, who scored on a man-up goal. Dom Fichera (Scituate, Mass.) netted UMB's first goal of the day at the 4:10 mark on an unassisted play to make it 2-1 in favor of the home team.
The Corsairs then pushed their lead back to two on a goal by Baxter with 2:31 left in the opening quarter. In the second, MacPherson scored the second man-up goal for UMass Dartmouth at 9:14 to make it a three-goal contest. Powers fired home his first goal of the evening off of a Delpha assist less than a minute later to make it 4-2 before the halftime break.
Neither team would find the back of their opponents cage for the remainder of the second as Frehill and his UMass Dartmouth counterpart Nick Thayer made save after save to keep the game close.
After the break, Niden gave the Corsairs some breathing room with his second goal of the night. However the Beacons responded with a pair of goals to make it 5-4 with a full quarter left to play.
In the fourth the two teams would battle back-and-forth all over the turf, but it would be the Beacons who scored first to tie the game at 5-5. Nick Tangherlini (Cohasset, Mass.) scored his lone goal of the day to shift the momentum in favor of the Beacons.
On the ensuing the face-off, which was won by the Corsairs, UMass Dartmouth would turn the ball over, with Derek Froio (Cohasset, Mass.) collecting the loose groundball. He would then work the ball up the field where it ended up in the stick of Tangherlini which he fired on goal. Unfortunately, Thayer managed to come-up with save giving the Corsairs the ball back with less than seven minutes to play in regulation.
Following a good clear, the Corsairs called a timeout with 6:17 to play to set-up the next play. This would pay off as Baxter scored his 24th goal of the year at 5:47 to make it 6-5 in favor of UMD.
The Corsairs would then maintain possession throughout the final minutes of the contest, with the lone Beacons shot coming from Ellis with 36 seconds left in the contest. Thayer would end Tuesday's contest with a combined nine saves.
Froio closed out the game with a team-best four groundballs, while Bo Prozinski, who was named the LEC Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, collected a game-high six groundballs, but did not register a point in the first round game.
On the face-off "X" UMass Boston went 7-for-15, with Phil Truong (Quincy, Mass.) winning six of the opening draws.