DANBURY, Conn.—#6 UMass Boston lacrosse jumped out to a 9-1 lead and held on thanks to a huge defensive effort, to upset #3 Western Connecticut State University 11-7 on Tuesday evening in the Little East Conference Quarterfinals.
UMass Boston 11, Western Connecticut State 7
(UMass Boston 5-13)
(Western Connecticut State 10-8)
HOW IT HAPPENED
After seeing the Colonials cut the deficit to 9-6 in the third quarter, the Beacons held Western Connecticut State to just one goal over the final 15 minutes and no goals in the final 10:19.
Senior goalie Cameron Dixson (Wayland, Mass.) came up huge once again for the Beacons. Dixson made 12 saves on 19 shots and added a ground ball in his first collegiate playoff start.
Freshman Matt Palin (West Bridgewater, Mass.) added a game-high seven ground balls, while Robert Ranta (Newton, Mass.) contributed two ground balls and a team-high two caused turnovers. Fellow defensemen Jack Ranta (Newton, Mass.), Jack Fournier (West Newbury, Mass.) and Tommy Wilber, Jr. (Walpole, Mass.) all contributed at least two ground balls and one caused turnover.
Offensively, Ned Parker (Stafford, Va.) recorded a game-high four goals, including three man-up tallies. Freshman Darragh Fahey (Walpole, Mass.) matched Parker's four points with a goal and three assists.
The conference's top two-leading scorers, Western's Eric Caldwell and Ryan Reuling, were held to a combined three goals and an assist in the loss.
Perry Cassidy took the loss for the hosts, after allowing nine goals on 12 shot in the opening 24:08. Derek Strine came on and held the Beacons scoreless for over 30 minutes, before eventually allowing two goals on nine total shots.
Neither side could wrestle control in a low-scoring first quarter. Riley gave the Beacons the lead at 9:10, but Western countered with a man-up goal at 5:52. The Beacon took the lead for good with 17 seconds left in the quarter, as Riley set up Fahey for a 2-1 edge.
UMass Boston kept the momentum going as they scored seven goals in the first 9:08 of the second quarter. Parker scored all four of his goals in the frame, with Jeremy Girard (Hinsdale, Mass.), Hladick and Lenfest each adding a single tally.
The Beacons capped their 8-0 run with 5:52 to play in the quarter, as Hladick set up Lenfest.
Reuling scored a pair of goals over the final 3:23 to get the hosts back within six (9-3) at the half.
The Colonials turned up the defensive pressure in the second half, as they outscored UMass Boston 3-0 in the third to cut the deficit to 9-6.
Caldwell added a man-up goal with 10:19 left in the fourth, to get Western back within two at 9-7.
Both teams would have multiple chances to score the all-important next goal, but Dixson and Strine each made two saves to keep the game at a stalemate until the 4:09 mark.
Sophomore Jack O'Brien (East Longmeadow, Mass.) snapped UMass Boston's 31-minute, 33-second scoreless streak with a huge insurance goal with 4:09 to play.
After R. Ranta forced a turnover on the next Colonials possession, Derek Caruso (Port Washington, N.Y.) put the game out of reach with a goal with 1:57 left.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Tuesday's win marked the Beacons' second-ever Little East Conference win as the lower seed. In 2005, fifth-seeded UMass Boston defeated #4 Plymouth State University 6-5.
- UMass Boston is riding their first three-game winning streak of the season. The Beacons have also scored double-digit goals in three-straight games for the first-time this year.
- The Beacons finished with a 13-9 edge in the face-off X and a 48-37 advantage in shots.
- Tom Redmond (Scituate, Mass.) went 6-7 in the face-off X, while Jack Dobrzynski (East Greenwich, R.I.) added seven wins in 15 chances.
- The Beacons are only the third sixth-seed in LEC Tournament history to earn a victory. Plymouth State (2012) and Western Connecticut State (2013) each pulled off the feat.
- UMass Boston went 3-7 in man-up opportunities, while Western Connecticut State finished 4-6.
- With the win, UMass Boston earns the season-sweep over Western Connecticut State and improves to 8-11 all-time against the Colonials.
#6 UMass Boston will take on second-seeded Plymouth State University on Friday evening at 7 p.m. The LEC Semifinals and Finals will both be played at #1 Keene State College