5/23/04 - Nazareth (16-2) controlled the possession for much of the first three quarters as they were able to defeat Middlebury (16-2) 12-8 in an NCAA semifinal match-up. The Golden Flyers will take on Salisbury, a 13-11 winner over Washington College, in the NCAA Championship next Sunday at noon. The loss is the first for Middlebury in an NCAA semifinal, as their tournament record falls to 21-5. The defeat also snaps a 45-game run on Youngman Field, a winning-streak that dates back to April of ’97.
After 7:27 of scoreless action, Nazareth earned a goal from Justin Wahl driving to the left side. Chris Balash made it a 2-0 game after setting his feet and ripping a shot into the lower left corner of the net. Middlebury cut the lead in half with 1:29 left in the first quarter with a goal from Greg Bastis down low. The Golden Flyers answered with just four second left in the quarter as Brandon Brown made a nice feed from behind the net to T.J. Rogers who finished.
Nazareth took a 6-1 lead in the second quarter with a 3-0 run. Brown netted the first, while assisting on the first of Bryan Coon’s two straight goals in 18 seconds. Middlebury answered with a 4-0 run, the first three coming in 1:26. Charley Howe opened the spurt with some nice moves down low, before Mark Foster converted a pass from Andrew Giordano in transition after a nice save from Middlebury goalkeeper Eric Krieger. Mike Saraceni cut the lead to 6-4 at 9:23, while Bastis made it a one-goal game driving from the left side at the 6:51 mark. Nazareth came right back with a 3-0 run to close the half and take a 9-5 lead. Wahl netted the first two, while Bryan Adams scored the half’s final goal at 4:42.
Nazareth kept up the pressure in the third quarter, scoring a pair in 44 seconds to take an 11-5 lead. Wahl netted his fourth of the game at 9:43, before Brown scored from outside. Middlebury broke a 20:50 scoreless draught with 1:01 left in the quarter as Howe scored backing in from the right side.
Trailing 11-6 heading into the fourth quarter, Middlebury turned up the heat, out shooting the Golden Flyers 15-4 in the quarter. The Panthers had some good shots early, but Alex Civalier continued to be impressive in net. Middlebury did find the back of the net at 10:10 with Howe’s third of the game driving to the right side before switching hands for the quick goal. Rogers answered with a bounce-shot at 9:00 before Middlebury’s long-stick defender Gabe Wood scored his first of the season in transition to make it a 12-8 final.
Howe led the Panthers with three goals, while Bastis added two on the day. Wahl scored four for Nazareth, while Rogers, Brown and Bryan Coon netted two goals apiece. Krieger ended the afternoon with 10 saves, while Civalier made 13 for Nazareth.
Middlebury vs. Nazareth