Third Quarter Outburst Fuels Golden Bears Past Keene State in Home Opener, 17-9

Third Quarter Outburst Fuels Golden Bears Past Keene State in Home Opener, 17-9

 Ward & Greer lead Golden Bears with 5 points each

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.—The Western New England men's lacrosse team used an early lead to coast to a 17-9 victory over Keene State in non-conference play Thursday evening at Golden Bear Stadium.

Top Performers
Multiple players contributed to the Golden Bear offensive attack. Senior attackman Jared Ward (Littleton, Mass.) and sophomore midfielder Matt Greer (South Windsor, Conn.)  led the way with five points. Ward with three goals and two assists and Greer with one goal and four helpers. Freshman attackman Mike Bannon (Edmond, Okla.) put up four points (2 G, 2 A). In addition, sophomore attackman Jared Newall (Stratford, Conn.) (3 G), sophomore midfielder Conor Tracy (Walpole, Mass.), and senior attackman Tim Breau (Lima, N.Y.) all contributed three points.

Junior John Shahpazian (New Providence, N.J.) had two goals. Freshman midfielder Noah Rust (Windham, N.H.) and junior midfielder also punched in a goal for the Golden Bears.

Keene State received two-point performances from junior midfielders Dave Wiedenfield (Londonberry, N.H.), Conor Nolan (Plymouth, N.H.), Anthony Marcella (Hull, Mass.), and senior attackman Bobby Carey (Wallingford, Conn.). Freshman midfielder Shane Molloy (Guilford, Conn.) and sophomore attackman Ben Bunnell (Watertown, Mass.) each had a goal of their own.

Game Review
The Western New England offense got off to a hot start in their home opener. The first goal coming off a missed shot from Shahpazian backed up from Bannon, who fed Newall on the left wing, 1-0. Three minutes later, Greer powered one from 10 yards out to make it 2-0. At 8:31, Ward got on the board after riding the crease and bouncing off a defender from close range, making that three unanswered goals. With 6:09 remaining, Marcella would respond for the Owls with a shot high and away to make it 3-1.

In the second quarter, the Golden Bears opened up the quarter with Greer connecting with Bannon for a shot from 10 yards out. At the 11-minute mark, Gamba dodged through the Owl defense and landed one between the pipes to make it 5-1. The Owls responded quickly from Gamba's finish with Wiedenfield capitalizing off a Nolan feed on the break, lowering the deficit to 5-2. At 9:22, the Golden Bears answered with another Bannon goal facilitated by Ward. With 8:12 remaining, Nolan would slice through the defense and find space for an unassisted goal once again slimming the margin to 6-3.

From there, the Golden Bears exploded for 10 unanswered goals through the completion of the third quarter. The Owls would look to stop the run with shots on goal from freshman midfielders Justin Norris (New London, N.H.) and Max Thurston (Barrington, R.I.), but junior goalkeeper Sean McCusker (Northport, N.Y.) collected two of his nine saves on the evening. The home team capped the 10-0 run with a spectacular feed from senior midfielder Joe Holleran (Pittsburgh, PA) to a cutting Newall in front of the crease for the goal.

In the fourth quarter, Keene would score six goals, but the Golden Bear lead was never in question.

Notes
• Western New England controlled the face-off battle, 20-9.
• Western New England converted on 50% of their man-up opportunities.
• The Golden Bears outshot Keene State, 42-35.

Up Next
Western New England (2-0) will host Amherst College, who is ranked fourth in the nation, on Tuesday, March 5. Keene State looks to bounce back at Tufts next Wednesday.