#20 Wesleyan Hangs on for One-Goal Victory over USMMA

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (Wed., March 24, 2010) -- Junior Conor Malangone netted four goals in helping Wesleyan University (4-3) carry an 8-4 lead into the final quarter of its home game vs. the Merchant Marine Academy (4-3) this evening, but the Mariners did all the scoring in the final stanza to cut the margin to 8-7 with :26 remaining.

Wesleyan faceoff specialist senior Matt Ward won his 12th faceoff of the night in 18 tries and scooped up the ground ball as the Cardinals consumed the closing seconds of the contest to hang on for the one-goal victory. Wesleyan is now 5-0 all-time vs. USMMA as the teams first met in 2003.

Wesleyan led by five goals just 20 minutes into the contest as Malangone already picked up a hat trick with 10:04 left in the second stanza to complement a pair of goal from sophomore John Froats and a tally from points leader senior Jon Killeen, who also had an assist on one of Malangone's goals to up his point total to 28 (13G, 15A). Malangone leads the Cardinals in goals this season with 17. The only goal of the opening 20 minutes for the Mariners came from sophomore Sean Zakow.

The Mariners got the last goal of the first half when senior Brendan Meyers picked up a loose ball and scored with just :10 to go to make it 6-2 at intermission. Each team scored twice in the third period as junior Mike Boidock netted a man-advantage goal for his first of the year in the opening minute of the period and top scorer junior Zach Gray got his 18th of the year for USMMA. Scoring for Wesleyan were Malangone and junior Graham Gnall.

Despite being outshot 30-18 in the contest, USMMA owned the final stanza with a 9-1 edge in shots. The sixth goal of the year from sophomore Adam Jerlow cut the margin to 8-5 at 11:38 as he took a feed from freshman Mike Ackerman and put home a high shot past freshman keeper Mark Simmons.

Simmons played the second and fourth quarters for Wesleyan with three saves and four goals allowed. Senior Colin Campbell played periods one and three with three stops and three goals permitted. Though he didn't need to make a save in the final 15 minutes, senior Keegan Boyle collected eight stop in the net for USMMA.

Just 46 seconds later at 10:52, the 16th goal of the campaign from senior Brian Flannery made it an 8-6 game. Flannery also had two assists in the contest for a three-point game as he sits one point behind Gray with 27 on the year (16G, 11 A).

Gray got the final USMMA tally, assisted by Flannery as Gray, attempting to catch and shoot a feed from outside on the right by Flannery, ended up just tipping the ball in traffic, but redirecting it enough to elude Simmons with :26 to go. Gray also had three points in the game, giving him 28 on the year (19G, 9A).

It came down to the last faceoff and Ward, who has won 68.3 percent of his attempts this year (82-120), got the job done for the Cardinals.

Wesleyan will be back in action Saturday, March 27, hosting NESCAC rival Bates College while USMMA has a trip to Swarthmore planned for its next encounter Wednesday, March 31.

* * * *

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. On Wednesday evening, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy lacrosse squad fell to No. 20 Wesleyan University, 8-7, at Jackson Field in Middletown, Conn. Three different Mariners recorded three points on the night; however, they came up one goal short against the Cardinals. With the win, Wesleyan improved to 4-3 overall. Following the loss, USMMA fell to 4-3 on the season.

The two teams traded goals to open up the first quarter. USMMA Sophomore attack Sean Zakow (South Huntington, N.Y.) received a pass from senior attackman Brian Flannery (North Massapequa, N.Y.) and fired it between the pipes to tie the game. However, spanning the first and second stanzas, the Cardinals reeled off a 5-0 run to take a 6-1 advantage. Wesleyan junior attacker Conor Malangone (Lake Grove, N.Y.) racked up three of those five tallies.

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