DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The Castleton University men's lacrosse team made a furious comeback, but dropped its inaugural Little East Conference contest on Saturday afternoon, falling to UMass-Dartmouth by a final score of 8-7 at Cressy Field.
The Spartans fall to 2-5 on the season overall and 0-1 in LEC play, while UMass-Dartmouth improves to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in LEC competition.
Trailing by four goals heading into the final quarter of play, Castleton knotted the game at 7-7 with just 2:00 left on the clock when Colin Clark buried a goal from the left side of the net, but a goal with 46 seconds to play by the Corsairs sunk the Spartans in their first LEC contest.
UMass-Dartmouth outshot Castleton 39-25 on the day, including a 25-19 edge in shots on goal. The face-off battle was nearly even, with the Corsairs holding a 10-8 advantage, but UMass-Dartmouth collected 45 ground balls to Castleton's 36. Both teams cleared the ball with ease, Castleton going 24-of-30 and UMass-Dartmouth converting 20-of-23. Four of Castleton's goals came with a man up, while the Corsairs went 0-for-4 on man-up chances.
Cameron Russell notched his second hat trick of the year, scoring three times for the Spartans while Jason Sedell added a pair of fourth-quarter goals for Castleton. Clark had a goal and two assists on the day, with Tyler Crowningshield adding a goal as well. Kyle Lutinski led the team with seven ground balls while adding an assist, while Jason Venezia caused a pair of turnovers in the defensive end. Brandon Myron tied a season-high with 17 saves in the loss, his third of the season.
Donovan Prozinski collcted a hat trick of his own for the Corsairs while adding four ground balls and four caused turnovers. Tim Jordan scored twice with an assist while three others added goals for UMass-Dartmouth. Sawyer Gibbons led all players with eight ground-ball pickups, while Ted McCaffery won his third game of the year in goal with 12 saves.
Russell gave Castleton an early 1-0 lead with his 11th goal of the season just five minutes in, but UMass-Dartmouth's Prozinski leveled the game a minute later with a score of his own. The Corsairs then took their first lead of the day with a goal from the stick of Swenson before going ahead 3-1 with 2:56 left to play on a goal by Lattanzi. Castleton earned a man-up opportunity with 1:17 to play when UMass-Dartmouth was caught offside, and Russell converted on an assist by Colin Clark to make it 3-2 after the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was all Corsairs, as Matt Clement extended the score to 4-2 before Jordan notched a goal of his own to make it 5-2, a score that carried into the halftime break as the two sides played scoreless for the final six-plus minutes of the half.
Jordan pushed the lead to 6-2 for UMass-Dartmouth 1:16 into the second half, but the Castleton defense buckled down from there. After more than 10 scoreless minutes, Russell finished off his hat trick to make it 6-3, but Prozinski netted his second of the game with 1:14 to play in the quarter to send it to the final 15 minutes with the Corsairs up 7-3.
The four-goal gap stood for more than 10 minutes into the final frame, but Sedell took a pass from Adnane Adossama and buried it for his first goal of the game with 4:39 left to make it 7-4. He found the back of the cage again just 40 seconds later to make it a two-score game, taking advantage of a UMass-Dartmouth penalty and a man-up opportunity. The offensive barrage continued just 28 seconds later, giving Castleton three goals in the span of 1:08, as Crowningshield made it a 7-6 game on the same man-up opportunity.
With time winding down on a man-up opportunity, Lutinski worked the ball around to Clark on the left wing. Clark pulled the trigger, beating McCaffrey to knot the game up at 7-7 with 2:00 to play. After Castleton killed off a 30-second man-down possession, Prozinski carried the ball around the right side of the cage and beat Myron top-right to put UMass-Dartmouth ahead, 8-7, with just 46 seconds on the clock. Castleton won the ensuing face-off to get one last chance, but a late turnover allowed the Corsairs to run the clock out on the first conference game of the season.
Castleton returns to the field on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at Sage in a game that was rescheduled from March 7.