The top-seeded New England College men's lacrosse team repeated as the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Tournament Champions with a 12-3 win over No. 2 Castleton in Saturday's championship game, played at Don Melander Field.
With the win, NEC earns the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, and will make their second-straight NCAA appearance.
Castleton sees their season come to a close with a 10-8 record.
The Pilgrims received three goals and two assists from junior Matt Richard (Weare, N.H.). Senior Sean Largay (Norwalk, Conn.) chipped in with three goals, while Daniel Medvetz (Henniker, N.H.) tallied a goal and three assists.
Sophomore Connor Fries (Barnstable, Mass.) caused a game-high six turnovers, scooped up six ground balls, and won three faceoffs.
The Spartans received two goals from Sam Siegal and one from Peyton Faasse. Faceoff specialist Joshua Gosselin won 12 of his 18 faceoff attempts on the day and scooped up six ground balls.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The first half was a tight battle. Castleton won the opening faceoff but did not get a look at the cage as Hunter Coakley (Bridgewater, Mass.) forced Siegal into a turnover.
Every turnover mattered in the opening minutes. NEC went up 1-0 on a goal by William Pendleton (Chalfont, Pa.) at the 10:45 mark, but Castleton answered right back with a faceoff win by Gosselin and a goal by Siegal at 9:57.
NEC won the next faceoff and immediately worked it into a scoring opportunity, as Richard tallied an unassisted goal to put the Pilgrims up 2-1 with 8:07 to play in the first. It would prove to be the last goal of the first quarter despite two shots by Castleton that resulted in saves by William Platt (San Francisco, Calif.).
Castleton wasted little time tying the score in the opening minutes of the second quarter as Siegal scored his second goal of the day just 2:29 into the game.
A goal by Richard, assisted by Medvetz put NEC up for good with 9:11 remaining in the first half, and Largay sealed with a momentum-swinging, fast-break goal with five seconds left in the half.
The Pilgrims outscored Castleton 6-0 in the third quarter to break the game open, leading 8-2 with one quarter left to play.
The Pilgrims scored two more before Castleton got their final goal of the game with just over four minutes remaining.
Platt put forth his best performance or 2017 in the win, tallying a season-best 16 saves in the win, including seven in the close first half.
Castleton's Brandon Myron stopped seven shots in net.
Shea Jones – Lyndon
Ian Pelkey – Lyndon
Chad Merrill – Husson
Owen Richmond – Husson
Joshua Gosselin – Castleton
Malik Hines – Castleton
Brandon Myron – Castleton
Sean Largay – NEC
Matt Richard – NEC
Connor Fries – NEC
Tournament MVP – William Platt, NEC
The Pilgrims will learn their NCAA pairing on Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. during the NCAA Selection Show.
2017 NAC MEN'S LACROSSE CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Championship • Saturday, May 6
No. 1 New England College 12, No. 2 Castleton 3 - Boxscore