No. 19 WNEC Tops Pilgrims in TCCC Semifinals

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- This time Western New England made sure there would be no upset. Senior midfielder Mike Santare (South Salem, NY) scored four goals and junior goalie Brewster Knowlton (Somers, CT) compiled 11 saves as the top-seeded Golden Bears defeated fourth-seeded New England College 12-4 in a semifinal round game of the TCCC tournament Wednesday night (May 4).

Western New England, ranked 19th nationally, raised its record to 14-4 in advancing to the title contest on Saturday (May 7) against defending champion Endicott who defeated third-seeded Gordon 16-7 earlier in the afternoon.

Last year NEC upset Western New England 11-10 on a last-second shot in a similar conference semifinal battle. The Golden Bears struggled to beat the Pilgrims 6-4 at home in their regular season meeting back on March 22.

There was no letdown in this important playoff battle.

Junior midfielder Joe Martin (Springfield, MA) set the tone early by winning the opening face-off and rushing down field to fire in a shot just five seconds into the contest, which was a NCAA Division III record for the fastest goal from start of game. Senior midfielder Patrick White (Milton, MA) scored on a man-up situation 1:23 later for a quick 2-0 lead.

It took New England College just 30 seconds to cut the margin in half when junior midfielder Sam Freihofner (Scarsdale, NY) found the net at the 13:02 mark. Santare and White each tallied goals to give the hosts a 4-1 advantage after the opening period.

Western New England dominated the game after that by scoring four times in the second period (including two by Santare) for an 8-1 lead at the break.

The Golden Bears tacked on two more scores in the third quarter and extended the lead to 12-1 following goals by junior attacker Joe O?Keefe (Branford, CT) and freshman midfielder Sean Lawton (Abington, MA) in a 42-second span early in the fourth stanza that capped a 10-0 run. New England College scored three goals in the final 9:47 to complete the scoring.

Western New England?s defense kept the Pilgrims scoreless for 48 minutes, 15 seconds and held TCCC Co-Offensive Player of the-Year senior midfielder John Gabriel (West Nyack, NY) to three shots and no goals.

Knowlton had another top-notch performance by making seven of his saves in the opening half. White finished with two goals and an assist, Lawton a pair of goals, and O?Keefe a goal and assist.

Senior defender Billy Kelsey (Yorktown Heights, NY) and senior midfielders Bill Grieder (South Windsor, CT) and J. Michael Nardella (Beverly, MA) each picked-up three ground balls.

The Pilgrims (13-6) received a nice effort from sophomore midfielder Ahmaad Simmons (Baltimore, MD) who recorded four ground balls. Junior goalie Nick Acquaviva (Syracuse, NY) compiled eight saves.

* * * *

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - It happened so fast, many people missed it. Western New England junior Joe Martin (Springfield, MA) tied the NCAA Division III men's lacrosse record for the fastest goal to start a game when he won the opening face-off and fired in a shot in five seconds Wednesday night (May 4) in a 12-4 victory over New England College.

Martin's quick goal set the tone as the Golden Bears went on to post a 12-4 victory in a semifinal round game of The Commonwealth Coast Conference (TCCC) Championship.

Earlier this season, Justin Lappen of Kean scored a similar goal in five seconds against Mt. St. Mary (NY), then score again four seconds later in a 16-0 win on April 6.

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2011-05-05



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