DANBURY, CT – Rookie midfielder Johnnie Ward (Mahopac, NY) tallied a team-high three goals, while rookie attackman Eric Caldwell (East Moriches, NY) added a pair and dished out two assists as the Western Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team was edged by Little East Conference foe Southern Maine, 12-11, on Saturday afternoon at The Westside Athletic Complex.
Senior midfielder Jonathan Thomas (Waterford, CT) finished with two goals, while sophomore attackman Robert Swensen (Danbury, CT) added a goal and an assist for the Colonials who fell to 3-5 overall and 0-2 in league play. Junior attackman Nate DelGiudice (Oakland, ME) and freshman midfielder Tristan Dundas (Abbotsford, BC) each recorded three goals and an assist to pace the Huskies, who improved to 4-4 and 1-0.
The Colonials dominated much of play outshooting the visitors, 48-31, while also winning the groundball battle, 32-17. Sophomore midfielder Ryan Yursha (Middletown, DE) controlled the faceoff circle for the hosts, winning 22-of-27 opportunities. However, Southern Maine junior goalkeeper Zach Bessette (Readfield, MA) made the difference as he finished with a stellar 19-save performance, moving to 4-4, while Colonials senior netminder Patrick Tynan (Somers, CT) turned aside five shots and fell to 3-5.
WestConn held a 3-1 advantage to end the opening quarter on goals by Thomas, Ward and rookie midfielder Ryan Reuling (Groton, CT). The visitors retaliated with a five-goal run early in the second. DelGiudice wrapped up the run with an unassisted goal, giving the Huskies a 6-3 lead. Later in the period, Caldwell gathered a rebound in front of the crease, flicking the ball off the ground into the top corner of the net, cutting the advantage to 7-5 at halftime.
Ward raced in from the restraining line, dodged one defender, then split another pair, firing a low shot into the twine, slicing the margin to 7-6 to begin the third. Southern Maine answered with three of the next four goals – despite a pair of highlight reel saves from Tynan – to hold a 10-7 lead heading into the final stanza.
Trailing 12-8 with 4:23 remaining, the Colonials put forth a furious rally. Yursha won a faceoff and raced in for a fast break goal. Moments later, senior attackman John Foristall (Danbury, CT) found a cutting Caldwell to chop it to 12-10. Rookie Kieran Lyons (Leominster, MA) then scored with 11 seconds remaining. WestConn won the ensuing faceoff due to a Huskies' violation setting up one final rush at the equalizer. However, junior defender Sam Hornblower (Portland, ME) forced a turnover to seal the win for Southern Maine.
The Colonials return to action for a game that was just added to the schedule when they meet visiting non-league opponent Dean College on Wednesday at 7 p.m.