Nazareth vs. Ithaca
May 2, 2004
The Game Story:
ITHACA, N.Y. (May 2, 2004) -- Visiting Nazareth built a 7-1 lead and rode the hot goaltending of sophomore Alex Civalier (pictured) to defeat Ithaca, 7-5, in the championship game of the Empire 8 Conference Tournament Sunday for men's lacrosse.

The Golden Flyers' victory came at the same site and just eight days after suffering their first conference defeat of the season, 13-9, to the Bombers. Nazareth, ranked sixth nationally, also gained an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Golden Flyers (13-2 overall) will be making their 15th appearance in 19 seasons.

"It was a tough, hard-fought win against a very good team," said Nazareth Coach Rob Randall. "We had to do some things that we don't ordinarily do -- like hold the ball for extended periods of time -- but our guys played really hard amd I'm really happy for them."

Ithaca (13-3, ranked seventh) had a slight statistical edge in shots (41-33) and ground balls (41-29), but Civalier was spectacular for Nazareth in equaling a career-high with 20 saves. He set the tone early by making seven saves in the first quarter to keep the Bombers off the scoreboard. Nazareth, meanwhile, used an unassisted goal by junior midfielder Ryan Feltner to take a 1-0 lead after 15 minutes.

Nazareth added five more goals in the second quarter to build a 6-1 halftime lead. Sophomore midfielder Bryan Adams scored twice and attackmen Brandon Brown, Bryan Coon, and Justin Wahl each scored as well. Brian Weil finally got Ithaca on the board with 2:56 to play in the half.

Wahl's second goal of the game and team-best 36th of the season came just 46 seconds into the third quarter to make it 7-1 and give the Golden Flyers enough of a cushion that they wouldn't have to score again.

Ithaca scored the last four goals of the game, including an unassisted score by Brett Huckle with 4:19 to pull the Bombers to within 7-5. Nazareth, however, got solid defensive efforts from longsticks Chris Cimini, Gordon Quonce, and Cory Kizielewicz and defensive midfielders Francis Donald and Jeff Mangini, plus five more saves from Civalier in the fourth quarter to keep Ithaca off the scoreboard the rest of the way.

In addition to two goals each for Adams and Wahl, Nazareth got two assists apiece from Chris Balash and Brian Navarra.

NCAA Tournament selections will be officially presented May 9 and first-round games will be played at campus site May 12.