Hartford Wins at Vermont to Make AE Tournament
from press release
BURLINGTON, Vt. – In a pivotal closing weekend of league play, the University of Hartford men's lacrosse team never trailed at Vermont and put the Catamounts away with a fourth quarter spurt to lock-up its third-straight bid to the America East Championships by way of a 17-11 decision from Virtue Field on Saturday afternoon. Sophomore Kevin O'Shea poured in a game – and career – best seven goals, including three in the deciding quarter, to pace the Hawks to a 3-2 finish in conference play and a 7-6 overall record.
The conference championship held at La Valle Stadium on the campus of Stony Brook will kick off with the semifinal round on Thurs., May 2. Hartford's seeding and opponent is still to be determined.
O'Shea compiled eight points on the outing, the most for a Hawk since Carter Bender tallied eight against Siena last season. Four other players reached the back of the net, with Rory Nunamacher scoring four times and Andrew Cacchio netting a hat trick for the second time in as many outings. Rounding out the scoring for Hartford were Drew Haig and Austin Gorman who had two and one goal, respectively.
Drew Philie paced the Catamounts (4-10, 1-4 AE) with five goals and an assist while Graham Horvath added a trio of scores.
The Hawks and Catamounts found themselves in a tight battle to start, with both teams exchanging blows as Hartford was unable to gain more than a one goal edge through most of the first half.
Following a Masson strike with 7:55 left to play until halftime that tied up the contest at five-all, the Hawks reeled off their first run of the afternoon, creating a two-goal lead at the break using goals from Haig at the 6:21 mark and ending the period with an unassisted score from Nunamacher, his second of that 15 minute stretch.
The momentum continued to swing in favor of Hartford to start the third period as it rattled off three more goals to take a 10-5 advantage over Vermont with 9:43 left to play in that stanza. That span featured another goal from Nunamacher and Haig while O'Shea capped things off, using a feed from Gorman to net his fourth of the game.
The Hawks were unable to blow the game open at that point, however, as the Catamounts clawed back by scoring five of the next six goals to make it a one-point affair at 11-10 early in the fourth. Masson and Philie closed their squad's gap to two with three unanswered goals mid-way through the third before Cacchio stopped the bleeding with his second of the game, re-extending Hartford's advantage to three at 11-8.
After the Catamounts ended the third with a Horvath goal, Philie cut Hartford's deficit to a single goal for the first time since the second period, scoring with 12:20 left on the clock.
From there, the remainder of the game was dominated by the Hawks as they bombarded the Vermont defense with six scores in the final eight minutes, conceding just one Horvath tally during that stretch. Nunamacher provided his team with a two-goal cushion at 12-10 with 7:53 left, but Horvath delivered Vermont's final blow, again cutting the Catamount deficit to one with 6:51 remaining.
The Hawks then used a game-ending five goal rally featuring three from O'Shea and one from both Cacchio and Gorman to put the game out of reach.
Frank Piechota earned the win between the pipes, making saves on eight shots while redshirt sophomore Adam Yee was impressive at the faceoff circle, winning 19-of-30 duels and collecting 13 ground balls. Justin Rosenberg made 13 saves for Vermont, which committed 12 turnovers while taking nine fewer shots than Hartford (44-35).