The Middlebury men's lacrosse team made a late comeback against NESCAC foe Wesleyan (4-1, 2-1), but it wasn't enough as the #10 Panthers (2-3, 1-2) came up on the short end of a 17-15 game Saturday on Kohn Field. The Panthers return to action on Tuesday when they host Plattsburgh State at 3:30 p.m., while Wesleyan entertains Clark next Saturday at 3:00 p.m.
The opening quarter featured three-goal runs from each team. Joey Zelkowitz put the hosts in front with 11:18 left in the frame. The Cardinals responded with goals from Taylor Ghesquiere, Tom Dupont and Harry Stanton over a span of 2:24 for a 3-1 advantage. Middlebury answered with scores from A.J. Kucinski and a pair from Jake Schneider for a 4-3 lead with just over three minutes remaining before a tally from Ghesquiere tied the score with his second of the game.
The Panthers scored the first four goals of the second quarter, capped off on a man-up tally from Danny Jacobs for his first collegiate score, for an 8-4 lead with 10:49 remaining. Wesleyan responded with a four-goal burst of its own over nearly the next six minutes, tying the contest again at 8-8 on a bouncing shot by Stanton. Kucinski stopped the Wesleyan run with his second goal of the game for the Panthers, but Ghesquiere and Andres Rodriguez countered in the final minutes for a 10-9 Cardinal edge at the break.
Out of the break, the teams exchanged goals as Middlebury pulled to within one (12-11) on a top-right corner shot from Henry Riehl with 6:26 remaining. The visitors rattled off the next four goals during the ensuing 4:04 with two apiece from Stanton and Colin Uyeki, for a 16-11 lead. Jack Gould ripped a hard shot to the upper-right corner for the Panthers in the final minute of the quarter, cutting the Cardinal edge to four (16-12) headed to the fourth.
Wesleyan pushed the lead back to five (17-12) with Stanton's sixth goal of the contest. The Panthers made a late push with tallies from Schneider, Riehl and a man-up score Gould, but the Cardinals hung on for the two-goal victory.
Riehl finished with two goals and three assists for the Panthers, while Schneider (3-1-4), Kucinski (2-2-4) and Gould (3-1-4) each had four-point performances. Jake Madnick and Zelkowitz tied for game-high honors with six ground balls apiece, while Madnick won 18-23 face-offs. Kucinski and John Jackson each had five ground balls. Will Ernst made five saves in the first half, while Will Perry stopped six shots in second-half action.
Stanton's six goals and two assists paced Wesleyan, while Ghesquiere (4-1-5) and Uyeki (3-2-5) both had five points, respectively. Stanton paced the Cardinals with five ground balls, while Ghesquiere and Ben Shively each had four. Ted Bergman finished with 10 saves between the pipes for the Cardinals.