Men's Lacrosse Ends Season In NCAA Tourney

Kyle Soroka scored two goals and added an assist with three ground balls in the game.
Kyle Soroka scored two goals and added an assist with three ground balls in the game.

The Middlebury men's lacrosse team saw its season come to an end with a 16-10 loss at Amherst in an NCAA second-round contest at Pratt Field. The sixth-ranked Jeffs (18-2) advance to take on Tufts in a quarter final game on Wednesday, while the 11th-ranked Panthers finish their season with a 13-6 mark. Amherst avenges a 17-11 loss to Middlebury back on March 28.

In the first quarter, Amherst raced out to an early 4-0 lead. Quinn Moroney and Matt Killian netted back-to-back unassisted goals before Moroney found Kane Haffey with a score at the 5:31 mark of the frame to make it 3-0. A man-up goal by Patrick Routh lifted the lead to 4-0 with 3:34 to play, before Jon Broome scored a goal on the extra-man opportunity with 1:49 left in the first quarter. Kyle Soroka assisted on the strike to set the score at 4-1 after 15 minutes of play.

In the second stanza, Soroka found the back of the net early in the second, before Charlie Gill answered to make it 5-2 with 12:02 on the clock. Gill then dished out a pass to Chris Albanese, who fired it into the cage to give the Jeffs a four-goal cushion (6-2). Sean Carroll and Moroney then exchanged goals before Tim Giarrusso added a goal to pull Middlebury to within three at 7-4 with 7:32 left in the first half. Michael Litner chalked up his first marker of the game on a feed from Gill with 6:06 remaining in the second quarter to give the purple and white an 8-4 advantage at halftime.

In the third quarter, Kevin Curry struck just 32 seconds into the frame, before Joel Blockowicz answered with an unassisted goal to make it 9-5 at the 12:46 mark. A goal on the ensuing face-off by Haffey after a dish from Rob Butko extended the lead to 10-5 before Haffey added another tally to balloon the score to 11-5 with just under 11 minutes to play in the third session. At the 7:58 mark, Litner added his second goal of the game to make it 12-5.

Middlebury responded with three of the next four goals to make it 13-8 with 1:07 left to play in the third quarter. Joey Zelkowitz scored on a feed from Blockowicz before Moroney answered following a pass from Butko. Jack Rautiola scored back-to-back markers on passes from Cal Williams and Jack Cleary respectively to cut the Panthers' deficit to five after 45 minutes of action.

At the 12:24 mark of the fourth quarter, Gill scored his second of the game to give Amherst a 14-8 lead. With 9:32 remaining in the game, Blockowicz registered his second goal of the game to set the score at 14-9. With 3:15 on the clock, Jack Cahill scored an unassisted goal to increase the Jeffs' lead to 15-9, and Albanese then found nylon for the second time to make it 16-9. A second goal by Soroka with 1:17 on the clock pulled Middlebury back to within six (16-10) but that's as close as the Panthers could get as the Purple & White killed off a late penalty to seal the win.

Moroney and Haffey finished with three goals each, while Moroney added an assist for a four-point effort. Gill also logged a four-point outing, scoring a pair of goals and assisting on two others to help pace Amherst to the win.

Butko led all players with seven ground balls and added three caused turnovers, while Moroney followed with four ground ball pickups. Tranbarger made 12 saves between the posts to notch his 18th win of the season, including four stops in the both the first and third quarters. Cody Tranbarger made 12 saves in goal to earn the win.

Blockowicz, Soroka and Rautiola each scored a pair of goals for Middlebury, while John Jackson was 18-28 from the faceoff X to lead the Panthers. Nick Peterson picked up a team-high six ground balls, while Rautiola followed with five and Zelkowitz chipped in four.

Will Ernst made seven saves in the loss for Middlebury and capped the season with a 13-6 overall record.