BOSTON, Mass. – The Lasell College men's lacrosse team posted a 19-12 victory Tuesday evening over Emmanuel College to clinch the 2017 GNAC regular season title at Roberto Clemente Field. The Lasers avenge a 14-13 loss to the Saints in the 2016 GNAC tournament championship and stay perfect in conference play at 7-0 and improve to 10-3 overall on the year while the loss drops Emmanuel to 7-9 and 4-4 in the GNAC.
The Saints game plan early was to slow the Lasers offensive unit down and the strategy worked for over eight minutes until sophomore Ryan Madden (Hingham, Mass.) gave Lasell a 1-0 lead with 6:59 to play in the first quarter on a man-up tally. EC senior Sean Reilly (Deer Park, N.Y.) answered to tie the score at 1-1 with his 12th goal of the season with just under four minutes to play in the first. Over the final four minutes, the Lasers took control over the contest scoring three times on goals by junior Alex McCormack-Kuhman (Wells, Maine), sophomore Michael Susi (Gorham, Maine) and sophomore Austin Shindoll (Denver, Colo.) to take a 4-1 lead into the second quarter. Shindoll's 22nd goal of the season came with just 12 seconds remaining in the quarter and was a game-changer as the Lasers used the momentum to come out on fire in the second.
Susi, senior Connor Johnson (Hampstead, N.H.) and McCormack-Kuhma added goal in the first three minutes of the second to open up a 7-1 Lasell lead before EC senior Donnie Litzelman (Stratham, N.H.) stopped the assault with his 26th goal of the year to make it 7-2. Susi and EC sophomore Sam Ward (Hampstead, N.H.) traded goals to make it 8-3 before Lasell seniors Josh Gallant (Hampstead, N.H.) and Anthony Saitta (Derry, N.H.) capped the quarter's scoring with markers to give the Lasers a 10-3 lead heading into the break.
The Lasers outshot the Saints 27-13 in the half.
Emmanuel did a good job early in the third quarter and after a Gallant goal made it 11-3, EC got two back on scores by freshman Connor Prangley (Nashua, N.H.) and junior Ben Hartig-Orr (Reading, Vt.) to pull within six at 11-5. Madden and Litzelman exchanged goals to make it 12-6 before the Lasers blew the game open with seven unanswered goals over the final four minutes of the third quarter into the final stanza. McCormack-Kuhman and Gallant each scored twice during the surge while Shindoll, Saitta and junior Austin Tomasetti (Elmsford, N.Y.) added markers to make it 19-6. The goal for Tomasetti with 1:32 to play in the third was the junior's 100th career goal.
EC responded with six unanswered goals to cut into the deficit as senior Tony Cibelli (Westboro, Mass.) got into the mix with back-to-back scores to make it 19-8. Ward added his 10th marker of the season before Hartig-Orr made it 19-10 with 6:39 to play. Ward scored the 11th Emmanuel goal before senior defensemen Chris Baglivi (Mattituck, N.Y.) rounded out the action with his first goal of the year to account for the 19-12 final.
Lasell senior goalkeeper Jorge Salazar (Waltham, Mass.) made 12 saves to earn the win and improve to 10-3 on the year. Emmanuel junior Austin Rosenburg (Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) made four saves before being relieved by freshman Erik Jennings (South Berwick, Maine) who made eight saves.
The Lasers wrap up the regular season on Saturday, April 29 when they play host to Anna Maria College at 2:30 PM. Emmanuel is now idle until the GNAC tournament quarterfinals. The Saints will earn the No. 5 seed heading into the playoffs and travel to the No. 4 seed on Tuesday, May 2 against either Norwich University or Johnson & Wales University. Those two teams play this Saturday in the regular-season finale and the winner will earn the winner will earn the No. 3 seed with the loser hosting the Saints.