WEST POINT, N.Y. (4/27/08)—Five different Colgate players scored at least two goals and six had at least two points as the third-seeded Raiders made lacrosse history by capturing their first Patriot League Men’s Lacrosse Tournament Championship with a 13-9 win over fourth-seeded Bucknell at Army’s Michie Stadium. The Raiders finally broke through for the tournament title after advancing to the championship game in 2007 and winning the regular season in 2006.
Colgate (10-5) will make its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in program history with the Patriot League’s automatic bid. The Raiders will find out who they play during the selection show on ESPNU on May 4, from 9-10 p.m.
“These are just a great group of guys and I’m really proud of them,” head coach Jim Nagle said. “We’ve fought through a lot of adversity this season and I’m just so proud of what these guys have been able to accomplish.”
Junior Brandon Corp (Chittenango, N.Y.) led all scorers with five points from three goals and two assists, while senior captain Matt Lalli (Princeton Junction, N.J.) had four assists. Kevin Colleluori (Bethpage, N.Y.) added three tallies and Zack Craumer (Greenwich, Conn.), Ian Murphy (Constantia, N.Y.), and Nick Monastero (Bohemia, N.Y.) all added two apiece.
The story of the game was senior faceoff specialist Chris Eck’s (Fairfield, Conn.) success at the “X”, winning 19-of-25 restarts. That is just one shy of tying his record of 20 in a tournament game. He also picked up a team-high 11 ground balls in the contest. Eck won faceoff after faceoff during Colgate’s third-quarter run and helped the Raiders keep possession and force the Bucknell defense to work even harder.
“He has a lot of talent and that is a big part,” Nagle said. “But he is just so committed to being successful it is scary.”
The Raiders set a host of Patriot League records over the course of the weekend. Corp broke the record for goals and points in a tournament with eight and 11, respectively. Lalli set a mark for assists in tournament play with seven in two games. Corp also had both game-winning goals in Colgate’s magical run through the championship.
Joe Mele led the Bison with two goals and an assist, while Doug Buckley and Austin Winter both had two points. Bucknell had eight different goal scorers in the game.
The first quarter was a defensive battle with both goalies bringing their “A” game. Bucknell backstop, Matt Antonelli made five stops, while Colgate’s Tim Harrington (Lutherville, Md.) had four stops. Both allowed one goal as the two teams headed into the first break tied at 1-1.
The Raiders opened the scoring just 1:26 into the quarter after a long first possession. Murphy collected a pass and dodged his defender to the left and rifled a left-handed shot high into the left corner.
After being stifled by Harrington in the opening eight minutes, Bucknell’s Chris Palmer beat his defender around the left side of the crease and scored low into the right corner. The Bison and Raider defenses continued to keep the opposing offenses off the scoreboard in the final six minutes. Colgate’s man-down was outstanding, holding Bucknell’s man-up scoreless on two opportunities.
Coming out of the first break knotted at one apiece, the Raiders needed just 1:19 to go back in front 2-1. Corp took the ball behind the cage and found an open Monastero who fired his shot into the right upper 90 for the lead.
Bucknell (10-5) answered with two more goals in 29 seconds as the Bison to take their first lead of the game 3-2 with 11:00 left to play in the half. The first was a quick one-two connection between Tim Brandau and Joe Mele, while the second came on an unsettle fast-break from Make Lane after a Raider turnover.
Just over three minutes later, Craumer evened the score for Colgate, picking up a loose ball and dropping it low past Antonelli. After the scoring slowed, the Raiders took advantage of an unsettled situation of their own. The Colgate defense forced a turnover just in front of midfield and picked up the loose ball and raced down the field to find Craumer open to the left of the goal. Craumer took the pass and fed a streaking Chris Mulholland (Jenkintown, Pa.) for the 4-3 lead at the half.
The Raiders came out on fire on the defensive end and capitalized on their chances to go ahead by as many as four. Colgate scored the first three goals of the half for a 7-3 lead and held the Bison scoreless for 21:51.
Murphy started the three-goal run with an underhanded shot at the 10:59 mark. Just 18 seconds later, Colgate took advantage of a Bucknell turnover off the faceoff. Corp collected the ball and fed Colleluori right on top of the crease. It was Colleluori striking again at the 6:53 mark when sophomore Ryan McClelland (Brampton, Ontario) forced a Bucknell turnover at midfield and Colleluori picked up the loose ball for the wide-open lane to the goal.
The Bison stopped their 20-minute scoring drought with 4:09 with a goal from Ryan Klipstein and got another with 59 seconds remaining in the quarter from Mele to cut the Raider lead to two goals, 7-5, heading into the final two minutes.
Bucknell pulled within one goal early in the final frame with an odd goal that bounced off of Harrington’s stick in the crease. It was all Colgate after that, running off three goals in 1:34, including two in seven seconds, for a 10-6 advantage with 10:54 left in the game.
Corp’s goal at the 10:54 mark broke the Patriot League Tournament record for points and goals and proved to be the game-winner as the Colgate defense buckled down over the next 10 minutes.
Austin Winter made it a three-goal game at the 9:08 mark, but the Raiders answered right back with three straight tallies, including two man-up scores, to seal the championship victory. Two of Colgate’s goals came on the open net when Bucknell was pressuring the ball to force a turnover.
The Bison registered two late goals, but the six-goal deficit was too much to overcome in the final few ticks of the clock.
Harrington finished the contest with 11 saves in the contest and 22 for the weekend.
The Raiders outshot Bucknell 46-29 for the game and won the ground ball game 42-32. Colgate forced the Bison into 17 turnovers in the game, including eight in the third quarter.
Colgate still has one game left in its regular season, hosting top-ranked Syracuse on May 3 at 1 p.m. Both teams will be preparing for the NCAA Tournament in the final contest of the year.
|Brandon Corp||(3, 2)|
|Matt Lalli||(0, 4)|
|Kevin Colleluori||(3, 0)|
|Zack Craumer||(2, 1)|
|Ian Murphy||(2, 0)|
|Nick Monastero||(2, 0)|
|Christopher Mulholland||(1, 0)|
|Tim Harrington||11 (0.550)|