Trinity Men's Lacrosse Qualifies For First NCAA Tournament
Hartford, Conn. - The Trinity College men's lacrosse team earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament, qualifying for the field for the first time in program's history. The Bantams will open the tournament at home on Wednesday, May 9 at 4:30 p.m. against the Eastern Connecticut State University Warriors. Trinity, ranked No. 17 in the nation, is 10-6 this spring, while the Warriors are 12-5 after downing Keene State, 13-10, to take the Little East title on Saturday . The Bantams, coached by Michael Higgins (2nd Season), defeated Hamilton, 14-8, to reach the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Semifinals for the second year in a row, before suffering a 10-8 loss against Bowdoin in that semifinal game on Saturday. The winner of Wednesday's game will head to NESCAC Champion Tufts for an NCAA Second Round contest on Saturday, May 12. Tickets for Wednesday's game are $5 for students, $3 for students with ID, and free admission for children 12 and under.
Trinity joins Tufts, Bowdoin, and Connecticut College as representatives from the NESCAC to make the tournament field. Trinity has a 3-2 record against the 28-teams in the tourney, having beaten Tufts, 9-8, in overtime at home and won at both Bowdoin, 7-4, and Connecticut College, 11-7, during the regular season. The Bantams suffered a 12-5 loss at Western New England, which plays Connecticut College in the opening round Wednesday, in the second game of an 0-2 start to the year. Trinity is 7-6 all-time against Eastern Connecticut and has won the last five contests including a 16-3 home triumph when the teams met last in 2010. The Warriors lost, 14-10, to Stevens in their only game against a team in the NCAA Field.
Against Bowdoin Saturday, junior attackman Rob Nogueras (Parkland, Fla.) had four goals and one assist offensively, while sophomore attackman Chase Growney (Berwyn, Pa.) scored twice, and junior midfielder Nick Shaheen (Williamsburg, Mass.) finished with two assists. Senior captain defenseman Alex Gottsch (Sparks, Md.) caused two turnovers and six groundballs, and senior tri-captain Peter Johnson (Riverside, Conn.) stopped nine shots in goal. Both Nogueras and Johnson were named to the All-NESCAC First Team last week, while Shaheen graced the all-league second team.
Starting all 16 games this season for the second year in a row and logging all but 30 seconds of the team's 964:31 minutes in goal, Johnson holds an 8.03 GAA with 183 saves (11.38 per game, 3rd in NESCAC) and a .585 save percentage (4th in NESCAC), and adds a 44 ground balls (2nd on team). Gottsch has emerged as a top defenseman, and leads Trinity in ground balls with 56 and in caused turnovers with 40. Junior Chris Novick (Charlotte, N.C.) and sophomore Will Naughton (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) are also stingy defenders with 46 ground balls between them. Nogueras headlines the Bantam offense with 38 goals (2.38 per game, 4th in NESCAC) and five assists for 43 points (9th in NESCAC), while Shaheen boasts 25 points (17g, 8a), and first-year attackman Matt Hauck (Ridgewood, N.J.) adds 14 goals and a team-high 11 assists for 25 points. Junior attackman Jeff Hebert (Cornwall, Ontario) adds 15 goals and eight assists for 23 points, tied with junior midfielder Steve Manning (Tyngsboro, Mass.) who has 14 goals and nine helpers.
The Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team makes its seventh appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament Wednesday. The teams have faced three common opponents. Both defeated Western Connecticut and lost to Wesleyan. Eastern Connecticut lost to Amherst, while the Bantams defeated the Lord Jeffs. In its fifth year under Head Coach Justin Axel, the Warriors have one appearance with Axel at the helm when the squad defeated Merchant Marine in overtime for its first-ever NCAA victory before losing at Wesleyan. Senior goalie Jamie Tommins (Fairfield, Conn.) was named MVP of the LEC tournament after making a career-high 24 saves in the championship match. Senior attackman Michael Sullinger (Brookfield, Conn.) has 43 goals and 34 assists and sophomore middie Mike Devine (Chesire, Conn.) has 45 goals and 12 helpers for the Warrior offense.