COLCHESTER, Vt. - The nationally-regarded Saint Michael's College men's lacrosse team fell to Franklin Pierce University, 10-9, during its home opener on Saturday during Northeast-10 Conference play at Duffy Field. It was also the first regular-season lacrosse game at Duffy since the installation of new turf last summer by Shaw Sports Turf.
The Purple Knights, who received votes toward the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) poll, are 0-2 overall and in the league, while the Ravens improved to 1-1 and 1-0. Franklin Pierce, an NE-10 Championship semifinalist last year, is receiving votes toward this week's New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) poll.
Sophomore Brian Loughlin (Kingston, N.Y./Kingston) notched his second consecutive hat trick for Saint Michael's, upping his season total to six markers after scoring eight times during the 2015 season. Loughlin added four ground balls, while junior Tom Fitzgerald (Cranford, N.J./Cranford) scored twice. Seniors Daegan Goodman (Montpelier, Vt./Montpelier) and Jamie McGill (Needham, Mass./Needham), junior Andrew Colyer (Stowe, Vt./Stowe) and sophomore Patch Ryan (Holden, Mass./Saint John's) all netted a single tally. Senior T.J. Bicknell (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) produced 14 saves, four ground balls and two caused turnovers.
Senior Mark Yetter (Skillman, N.J./Montgomery/Delaware) provided two assists and four ground balls, first-year Conor DiNatale (Needham, Mass./Needham) had five faceoff wins and four ground balls, and sophomore Dan Dromeshauser (Norwell, Mass./Norwell) went 5-of-10 on draws. Junior Taylor Wallace (Bedford, N.H./Bedford) scooped four ground balls, and sophomore Neil Gallagher (Sudbury, Mass./Green Mountain Valley School) caused a pair of turnovers.
Sophomore Sean Delea recorded two goals and an assist for Franklin Pierce, while classmate Jack Carney and first-year Luke Tracy both scored twice. Sophomore Connor Wacksman made five second-half saves to pick up the victory in relief.
Neither team led by more than one goal until the final nine minutes of the contest, as Loughlin's opening marker 3:18 into the game was met by back-to-back Raven tallies, but Yetter assisted Fitzgerald and Colyer 44 seconds apart in the final 1:45 of the first quarter to put the hosts up 3-2. Colyer tallied during a man-up chance. Tracy forged the fifth of eight ties with 1:25 left in the second period, but Goodman provided a 6-5 edge with just 26 seconds to go. Senior Brendan Caldeira responded at six seconds to send the teams into halftime tied.
The Purple Knights opened the second half on a 3-1 run, with Loughlin scoring twice in a 4:46 stretch of the fourth quarter to give the hosts a 9-7 advantage with 8:42 remaining. However, Delea scored off of Caldeira's feed at 6:20 before Carney knotted the game 1:50 later, and Tracy's go-ahead tally at 1:09 capped a 3-0 spurt. DiNatale won the ensuing faceoff, with Fitzgerald claiming the ground ball, but Saint Michael's was unable to fire off a tying attempt, turning the ball over with 15 seconds left before repossessing in the final 10 seconds.
The Purple Knights continue a challenging four-game stretch to open the season by heading to No. 8 New York Institute of Technology on Wednesday for a 3 p.m. game. The Bears' national ranking is according to the USILA, as three of the Purple and Gold's first four opponents this season will either be nationally ranked or receiving votes toward the USILA poll.