Trinity Men's Lax Takes On Bowdoin In NESCAC Semifinals Saturday At Tufts
Hartford, Conn., May 4, 2012 - The No. 2-seeded Trinity College Bantams, which defeated No. 7-seeded Hamilton, 14-8, on Saturday to record the program's second-straight NESCAC Championship Quarterfinal victory, has advanced to the NESCAC Semifinals for the second year in a row. The semifinals and finals will take place at top-seeded Tufts University on Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6. The Bantams, ranked No. 17 in the United States Lacrosse Association (USILA) National Poll, play the No. 3-seeded and No. 12-ranked Bowdoin College Polar Bears Saturday at 3 p.m. The action begins on Saturday when the two-time defending league champion Jumbos host No. 4-seeded Connecticut College in the first semifinal at noon, followed by the Trinity v. Bowdoin game. The finals will be played Sunday, May 6 at noon.
Trinity, which was 7-3 in the NESCAC in its second season under Head Coach Michael Higgins, improved to 2-6 in the tournament having won its first NESCAC Tourney game in last year's quarterfinals, 10-5, against Wesleyan before bowing out in an 11-10 loss to Middlebury in the semifinals. After an 0-2 start this spring, the Bantams picked up victories over the three other semifinalists during a five-game winning streak capped by a 7-4 triumph at Bowdoin on April 7. All alone atop the NESCAC and unbeaten in league play at the midway point of the season, Trinity faltered in its next outing, a 9-7 setback at Colby, then dropped two of its next three NESCAC matches. Trinity solidified its best-ever finish in the conference standings with a 9-7 win at Amherst in the finale. Looking to cap a stellar career by leading his team to its first conference crown is senior goalkeeper Peter Johnson (Riverside, Conn.). An All-NESCAC First Team selection last season, Johnson owns a 7.90 goals against average and a .592 save percentage this spring.
Senior attackman Rob Nogueras (Parkland, Fla.) notched four goals and one assist in the playoff win against Hamilton, as Trinity took revenge on the Continentals for a 9-7 loss in Upstate New York on April 21. Trinity outscored the Continentals, 6-1, in the fourth quarter to turn an 8-7 lead into a 14-8 victory. Junior midfielder Steve Manning notched four points on two goals and two assists, while first-year attackman Matt Hauck (Ridgewood, N.J.) finished with two goals and one assist, and junior midfielder Nick Shaheen (Williamsburg, Mass.) scored twice. Junior face-off man T.J. Cholnoky (Greenwich, Conn.) was 10-for-14 on his face opportunities and scooped a game-high five ground balls, while senior captain Alex Gottsch (Sparks, Md.) added three ground balls and three caused turnovers, and Johnson made eight saves in goal.
Starting all 15 games this season for the second year in a row, Johnson holds a 7.90 GAA with 173 saves (3rd in NESCAC) and a .592 save percentage (3rd in NESCAC), and adds a 42 ground balls (2nd on team). Gottsch has emerged as a top defenseman, and leads Trinity in ground balls with 50 and in caused turnovers with 38. Junior Chris Novick (Charlotte, N.C.) and sophomore Will Naughton (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) are also stingy defenders with 45 ground balls between them. Nogueras headlines the Bantam offense with 34 goals (4th in NESCAC) and four assists for 38 points (T10th in NESCAC), while . Hauck and Shaheen boasts 25 points apiece, junior attackman Jeff Hebert (Cornwall, Ontario) adds 14 goals and eight assists for 22 points, and Manning has 13 goals and eight helpers.