Golden Bears earn top seed in CCC Tournament with 8-0 record in league play
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (April 24, 2018) – The Western New England University men's lacrosse team withstood a fourth quarter rally to earn an 11-8 victory over Gordon College on Tuesday night in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) action at Golden Bear Stadium.
Before the start of the contest, Western New England honored seniors Nicholas Beauchamp (Wilbraham, Mass.), Marc Fiocco (Somers, N.Y.), Connor Gilgen (Ridgewood, N.J.), Justin Holl (Mount Laurel, N.J.), Steven Kerr (Hopkinton, Mass.), Robert Koziol (Agawam, Mass.), Preston Stolberg (Highland Park, Ill.) and Mikey Wood (Southborough, Mass.) for their contributions to the program over the past four years.
• Junior Jared Ward (Littleton, Mass.) recorded a team-high four points (three goals, one assist), while sophomores Nick Gamba (East Islip, N.Y.) and Brendan Lyons (Syosset, N.Y.) scored three goals each.
• Junior Tim Breau (Lima, N.Y.) handed out four assists, and classmate Hunter Cocks (Walden, N.Y.) won 13-of-15 faceoffs.
• Sophomore Sean McCusker (Northport, N.Y.) earned his second win in the cage with eight saves.
• Gordon was led by junior Jason Dantona (Rockville Centre, N.Y.), who scored four goals on seven shots.
• Freshman Xander Miller (Shelburne, Vt.) chipped in with two goals, one assist, and a team-high five ground balls for the Fighting Scots.
Following a low-scoring first quarter that saw each team tally a man-up goal, Western New England took control in the second period.
Lyons scored on a feed from Beauchamp 2:14 into the frame, sparking a 6-0 run as the Golden Bears opened up a 7-1 advantage with 4:08 left in the half.
Dantona (2:18) and Miller (1:59) cut into Gordon's deficit with goals just 19 seconds apart late in the quarter, before Lyons scored with 1:31 on the clock to give Western New England an 8-3 advantage heading into halftime.
The Golden Bears outscored the Fighting Scots 2-1 in the third quarter and held a 10-4 cushion through 45 minutes of play.
Dantona fueled Gordon's fourth quarter surge as the visitors were able to close the gap to two (10-8) late in regulation. He registered an unassisted goal at the 14:04 mark of the period to make it a five-score game (10-5), and sophomore Dan Arthur (Manorville, N.Y.) found the back of the cage with 9:36 on the clock to bring the Scots closer. Junior Austin Early (Palmyra, Va.) then set Dantona up for goals at 5:03 and 4:01 to pull Gordon to within two.
Western New England kept the Fighting Scots off the board the rest of the way, however, and Ward notched an insurance goal with 1:09 remaining to seal the senior night win for the Golden Bears.
• Western New England outshot Gordon 37-31, but the visitors held a 26-20 edge in ground balls.
• The 2018 senior class finished with a 30-2 record in regular season CCC play.
• Following his four-point effort, Ward now ranks third on the team with 47 points (33 goals, 14 assists).
Western New England (11-6, 8-0 CCC), which earned the top seed and a first round bye in the CCC Tournament, will host a semifinal round contest at Golden Bear Stadium on Tuesday, May 1. Gordon's season comes to a close at 5-10 (1-7).