Fisher Holds off Nazareth in Regular-Season Finale

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- St. John Fisher captured round one Saturday in what has come down to a two-game home-and-home series in men's lacrosse between the Cardinals and the Golden Flyers. The Cardinals held off a late rally by Nazareth to take a 9-8 victory over the Golden Flyers in the teams' regular-season finale at Golden Flyer Stadium.

The teams will square off again Wednesday in the first round of the Empire 8 Conference Tournament. This time the game will be at Fisher's Growney Stadium at 4:00 p.m. Fisher, with an 11-4 overall record and a 6-1 conference mark, will be the second seed.

Nazareth, 8-9 overall and 5-2 in E8 games, will be the third seed. Ithaca, despite a 15-11 loss to Stevens Saturday, will be the top seed. The Bombers will host Stevens again Wednesday in the other first-round match-up. The championship game is Saturday, May 3 with the winner gaining an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

In Saturday's game, Fisher used a six-goal second quarter to gain a 7-3 advantage and the Cardinals held off a late charge by the Golden Flyers. Nazareth scored three times in the fourth quarter to close within 9-8 and had the final possession. Fisher goalie Jamie Campagna kicked aside a final shot by Nazareth's Troy Haefele that could have forced overtime. It was the last of 17 saves in the game for Campagna, who also made a stick save on a shot by Trevar Haefele with :12 left.

Senior Brian Wright and sophomore Luke Wooters each had two goals for Nazareth. Seniors Collin Clark and Trevar Haefele also scored goals as did sophomore Troy Haefele and freshman Nick Arnold.

Wright opened the scoring for Nazareth early in the first quarter off a pass from Clark, then despite a man-up opportunity for Nazareth, Fisher's Taylor Mutzafago scooped up a loose ball and completed an unassisted tally to tie the score at 1-1 through one quarter.

Clark and Trevar Haefele scored for Nazareth in the second quarter to put Nazareth up 3-2, but Fisher closed the half with five straight goals -- including two by Brett Farrell -- to take a 7-3 advantage at the break.

In the third quarter, Wooters scored twice early in the period just 30 seconds apart as Nazareth closed to within 7-5. Fisher doused Nazareth's momentum by scoring twice later in the period -- both off assists from Farrell -- as the Cardinals reclaimed their four-goal lead at 9-5.

Arnold's seventh goal of the season came off an assist from Wright, then Nazareth added a pair of extra-man goals -- one for Troy Haefele and one for Wright -- to claw within 9-8. Wright's goal came with 4:27 left and the Golden Flyers had several chances to tie the score thereafter, but Campagna made three big saves to preserve Fisher's slim lead.

Nazareth finished with a 38-29 advantage in shots and a 35-26 edge in ground balls. Junior Drew Simoneau won 11 of 21 faceoffs and had 11 ground balls. Sophomore Scott Brown made eight saves in goal for Nazareth. Farrell finished with two goals and two assists for Fisher and Jeff Wester contributed one goal and three assists.

The victory was only Fisher's second ever over Nazareth in men's lacrosse and the first at Golden Flyer Stadium. Nazareth has won 11 of 13 meetings overall.

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St. John Fisher scored five straight goals in the second quarter and goalie Jamie Campagna made two great saves in the final 15 seconds, as the Cardinals held on for a 9-8 win at Nazareth in the final regular-season lacrosse game for both teams.

With the win, Fisher improves to 11-4 overall and 6-1 in the Empire 8 Conference, while Nazareth falls to 8-8, 5-2. The victories secures Fisher the No. 2 seed in the Empire 8 Championship. The Cardinals will host No. 3 Nazareth on Wednesday (time TBA), while top-seeded Ithaca College will host No. 4 Stevens on Wednesday as well. The two winners will play on Saturday at the highest-remaining seed, with the winner of Saturday's title bout earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship.

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