SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — #5/4 Middlebury College scored six straight goals in the second and third quarters to pull away from #7 Union College and earn a 19-10 victory in the third round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Lacrosse Championships on Sunday afternoon at Frank Bailey Field at Bertagna-Class of 1985 Stadium.
With the win, Middlebury (18-2) advances to the NCAA quarterfinals, where the Panthers will take on #3 Rochester Institute of Technology. Union (12-7) has its season come to an end with the defeat, reaching the third round of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last four seasons.
Junior Zach Davis led Union offensively with a game-high four goals and five points, but no teammate recorded more than one goal as the home team fell behind early and could never recover. Defensively, senior Clint Gourdeau had five ground balls and two caused turnovers and junior Matthew Paolatto won 22-of-33 faceoffs with a game-high 17 ground balls.
Patrick Jamin led the Panthers with five points on two goals and three assists, and Jack Sheehan and Cooper DeMallie scored a team-leading three goals apiece. Luke Simpson had a big game leading the Middlebury defense, grabbing seven ground balls, causing three turnovers and also scoring a goal.
Neither team scored in the opening five minutes thanks in large part to four saves from junior Dan Donahue, before senior Jake Titus opened the scoring off a feed from junior Jake Mabardy 5:24 into the contest. Union led again after a score from sophomore Archie McEvoy made the score 2-1, but the Panthers netted the final four goals of the frame to take a 5-2 lead after 15 minutes.
The visitors extended their lead to 7-2 early in the second stanza, but Union came back with four straight tallies to get within a goal once again. Junior Justin Greene and sophomore Matt Blasi found the net 1:09 apart to cut the deficit to three, followed by tallies from first-year Emmett Lyne and Mabardy that put the score at 7-6 with 3:42 left.
However, Jamin scored 27 seconds after Mabardy to quell the momentum and start the game-changing 6-0 run that included one more in the second and the first four of the third quarter to put the visitors up 13-6 with 5:30 on the clock. Davis seemed to give Union some momentum by scoring a man-down goal with 4:45 left and then another with 36 ticks remaining, making it a five-goal game headed into the fourth. But Middlebury poured on the offense in the final frame, scoring six more times to complete the victory.
Middlebury finished the game with a 49-26 edge in shots, as Donahue made 19 saves to keep his team in the game. Union was done in partially by a season-high 25 turnovers and an 11-of-17 effort on clearing attempts.
Despite the loss, 2023 marks another successful season for a Union team that dealt with multiple injuries and still managed to win an NCAA Tournament game, the program’s seventh straight appearance with at least one postseason victory.