Men’s Lacrosse Tallies Perfect 2-0 Week

Joel Blockowicz rips a shot during Saturday's game against Wesleyan. (photo courtesy of Will Costello)
Joel Blockowicz rips a shot during Saturday's game against Wesleyan. (photo courtesy of Will Costello)

The Middlebury men's lacrosse team posted an unblemished 2-0 week. The Panthers scored the first five goals of the second half and hung on for a 13-11 road win Tuesday over St. Lawrence at Hall-Leet Stadium. On Saturday, Middlebury mounted a 5-2 halftime lead on its way to an 11-9 NESCAC home triumph over visiting Wesleyan at Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium.

On Tuesday, the Panthers trailed the Saints by an 8-6 tally at the half, but outscored SLU 4-0 in the third quarter to take a 10-8 lead on Nick Peterson's goal with 1:52 to go in the period. Sophomore Nate Smith-Ide (Pottstown, Pa.) made it an 11-8 game 1:09 into the fourth quarter before the Saints got it back to a one-goal game on Austin Nadeau's goal to make it 11-10 with 6:45 to go.

Juniors Jon Broome (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) and Jack Rautiola (Acton, Mass.) answered for the Panthers to make it 13-10 with 2:58 remaining. St. Lawrence's Tommy Hovey scored his third goal of the game with just four seconds left for the 13-11 final.

Middlebury jumped out to an early 3-1 lead, but Conor Healy and Hovey brought the Saints back and had SLU in front 5-3 after one quarter. The two teams each scored three second-period goals, two of them by Jeremy Vautour for the Saints and two for Middlebury by junior Tim Giarrusso (Hingham, Mass.) to give the Saints their 8-6 halftime advantage.

Panther sophomore goalie Will Ernst (San Francisco, Calif.) kept Middlebury in contention with 10 of his 16 saves in the first half, as SLU had a 23-14 edge in shots in the first 30 minutes. Nick Ford made 13 saves for the Saints.

Rautiola had three goals and an assist to lead the Middlebury offense, while Giarrusso had two goals and an assist. Junior Jack Cleary (Bethesda, Md.) added a pair of goals for the visitors.

Healy led the Saints with three goals and two assists, while Hovey had three goals and Vautour and Duprey two each.

Saturday’s win was keyed by specialist rookie John Jackson's (Hood River, Ore.) 19-24 face-off wins and an amazing collection of 13 groundballs,

In the second half, the hosts built several four-goal leads over the Cardinals, enough to keep the visitors at bay before a pair of last-minute tallies by Wesleyan set the final two-goal margin.

The Panthers earned a 2-0 lead in the first quarter, highlighted by a bounce shot by senior Joel Blockowicz (Potomac, Md.) that snuck under the crossbar. The Cardinals made it a 2-1 game at 2:43 in the first on a quick-stick feed from Matt Prezioso behind the X to Lyle Mitchell.

Middlebury added two more goals to start the second quarter, including another bouncer from Blockowicz at 5:22. Niall Devaney made it a 4-2 game as the Cardinal made a sweeping dodge to his right for his lone goal of the contest. Junior Sean Carroll (Wilton, Conn.) gave the hosts a 5-2 cushion heading into the break on a goal set-up by senior David Murray (Alexandria, Va.) at 3:20.

Murray opened the third quarter feigning a couple attempts right in front of Wesleyan's starting goalie Justin Schick before tickling the twine for the Panthers' first four-goal advantage at 10:23. Harry Stanton notched the next two for Wesleyan with a pair of doorstep tallies, cutting the deficit to 6-4 with 3:16 left to play in the third.

After winning 12-14 face-offs in the first three quarters, Jackson opened the fourth by winning the quarter-opening face-off and fed Rautiola's first of three fourth-quarter goals. With Middlebury holding an 8-4 advantage, the scoring pace picked up in the final frame. Wesleyan made it a three-goal deficit at 10:55 on a Stephen Dodd tally, only to be countered by a Panther goal by Broome off a Blockowicz assist just over a minute later. The teams exchanged two goals apiece as Rautiola accounted for both Panther scores, including his hat-trick tally at 3:44.

Trailing 11-7 in the final minute, Wesleyan strung a pair of goals together including Mitchell's second with 34 seconds remaining, followed by Nate Ryan's goal with 13 seconds left in the game.

Rautiola finished with three goals and Blockowicz added two goals and an assist for Middlebury, while Murray and Cleary each chipped in a goal and assist. Jackson's groundballs and face-off wins were career-highs, as Ernst made nine saves in net.

Stanton finished with two goals, a team-best six groundballs and an assist to lead Wesleyan. Mitchell and Dodd each had a pair of goals, while Perzioso chipped in two assists. Schick took the loss in net, making a dozen saves while allowing 10 goals in 53:24. Reserve netminder Ted Bergman allowed one goal in the final minutes of play.

• Men’s lacrosse record: 4-1
• Up next: 3/17 vs. Endicott – 4:30, 3/21 vs. Bowdoin – 1:00