Eastern Connecticut vs. Keene State
May 3, 2003
The Game Story:
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University men^ s lacrosse team scored eight goals in the third quarter to break open a close match and go on to an 18-9 win over Keene State College Saturday in the championship match of the 2003 Little East Conference playoffs at Thomas Nevers Field.

With its seventh straight win, top-seeded Eastern (11-3) wins its third straight conference playoff title and gains an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, which gets underway with a first-round match Wednesday. It was the first championship match appearance for second-seeded Keene State (11-4), whose only two conference losses this year have come at the hands of Eastern. Eastern has won all 23 conference matches in three years and has won 37 straight matches at Thomas Nevers Field.

The Owls led by a goal on three occasions in the first half before Eastern went ahead for good on junior midfielder Bill Morgan^s (WINDSOR) extra-man goal with 10:50 left in the first half. Thirty-four seconds later, senior Eric Faraday (NEWINGTON) converted a goal when the Warriors had a two-man advantage to make it 6-4. Leading 7-5 at halftime, Eastern scored the first three goals of the third quarter, outscoring Keene 8-2 in the frame to take a 15-7 lead into the final quarter.

Senior All-America attack Marc DiGiovanni (WILTON) scored twice and junior midfielder Andy Stockfisch (WILTON) added another in the early 3-0 run in the third quarter when Eastern moved out to a 10-5 lead.

Led by DiGiovanni (four goals), ten different players contributed to the Eastern scoring. Sophomore attack Brian Hebron (HICKSVILLE, NY) -- Eastern^s second-leading scorer -- finished with three goals and two assists. He did not score his first goal until just five minutes remained in the third quarter.

First-year junior midfielder Joseph Nozdrovicky (BALDWIN, NY) was named the tournament^s Most Outstanding Player. An Ohio State transfer, Nozdrovicky won 29 of 41 faceoffs (70.7 per cent) and added 16 ground balls in Eastern^s two playoff wins. He was 15-for-23 against Keene State and 14-for-18 in a 19-4 semifinal win over Massachusetts Boston Thursday. (more)

Eastern's starting defense of All-Americas Pat Ammendolia (ACTON, MA) and Andrew Handras (BETHPAGE, NY), Patrick Hennessey (GLASTONBURY) and Gavin Donahue (BETHPAGE, NY) held Keene^s top three scorers to a combined five goals and four assists on 14 shots. Sophomore attack Ben Bradley of Keene, the conference^s second-leading goal-scorer, had one goal. He had one goal and one assist in Eastern^s regular-season win over the Owls.

Senior goalie Mark Hayes (FAIRFIELD) tied the Eastern career goalie record with his 38th victory (against eight losses). Hayes made nine saves while Keene sophomore Eric Delisle made 11.