NEC Men's Lacrosse Downs Albion, 10-9 in OT, for First-Ever NCAA Victory
The New England College men's lacrosse team scored four goals in the fourth quarter, tied the game with 53 seconds remaining in regulation and scored a minute-and-a-half into overtime to win the program's first-ever NCAA tournament game with a 10-9 score over Albion College.
The win is the 16th-straight for NEC (16-4). Albion sees its season come to a close at 10-8.
Senior Matt Richard (Weare, N.H.) scored twice, including the game-tying goal with 52 seconds, and also dished out three helpers to break the NCAA Division III record for assists in a season, upping his season total to 93. The previous record of 92 assists was set in 1999 by Will Van Dorn of Kean University.
Patrick Storie (Williamstown, Mass.) scored the game-winning goal as part of a two-goal day, while Zach Cotoni (Groton, Mass.) scored three times.
Connor Fries (Barnstable, Mass.), Jacob Blanchette (Weare, N.H.) and Reilly Parker (Pittsfield, Mass.) both had a goal each.
The Brittons received two goals apiece from Brandon Lebioda and Brady Lawrence, while Chase Palmer, Jacob Swift, Scott Shepard, and John Cooke had a goal each.
Junior Willam Platt (San Fransisco, Calif.) tallied 13 saves in the victory, including two crucial saves in the all-important fourth quarter.
Albion's Trevor McManus had eight saves in the loss.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Albion scored first and quickly held a 2-0 lead before NEC was able to get on the board with an unassisted tally by Fries with 3:06 left to play in the first quarter. Albion scored six seconds later to reclaim the two-goal lead, which the maintained, leading 4-2 after the first quarter.
The Pilgrims made up some ground in the second quarter, outscoring Albion 2-1 to trail by just one goal, 5-4, at halftime.
The Brittons came out strong in the third quarter by scoring three-straight goals in a span of 1:42 to take an 8-4 lead. NEC broke up the stretch with a goal by Cotoni, but the Pilgrims were still down 9-5 entering the fourth quarter.
The momentum began to shift in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, when Storie sprinted down and spun around for an unassisted score. Less than three minutes later, Richard fed Blanchette for his record-setting assist and the 9-7 score.
Richard went to work two minutes later, bringing the team within one by picking up a loose-ball in front of the net and shoveling it in. The Brittons tried to work the clock down but turned the ball over with just over a minute remaining in the game. After a timeout, the Pilgrims ran a set play for Richard, who whipped it past the Albion defense to tie it up. NEC had another possession with less than 30 seconds left but were unable to get a goal.
The Pilgrims, who struggled on the faceoff all game, fought hard on the one that mattered post. Fries ultimately scooped up the ground ball and NEC calmly set up the offense. After passing the ball around a bit, Storie got it high on the outside, dodged his defender and shot high over the goalkeeper's stick to win the game.
The Pilgrims advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament tomorrow and take on #1 RIT at 4:00 p.m. NEC and RIT met in the NCAA Tournament in 2012.
--Courtesy of NEC Sports Information