MEDFORD, Mass. – In the opening round of the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship, the United States Merchant Marine Academy came up victorious with a 22-15 victory over Johnson & Wales on Bello Field.
With the victory Merchant Marine improves to 14-2 overall and advances to the second round of the bracket, which will pit the Mariners against No. 6 Tufts for a 4 p.m. start tomorrow afternoon against the host Jumbos.
USMMA and Johnson & Wales played to an even 4-4 score through the first quarter of play before the Mariners took a 10-7 lead into the halftime break. Both sides exchanged four-goal third quarters before the Mariners pulled away late with an 8-4 advantage in the fourth for the 22-15 win.
Senior Pat Coll paced the offense with a career-high 12 goals on 20 shots. Coll now has 67 goals on the year as he became the single-season all-time leader at USMMA, breaking the previous single-season mark of 62 set back in 2007 by Sean Dougherty.
The Mariners also got two goals apiece from seniors Tucker Dodson, and Nick Treon as well as sophomore Nick Roros. Treon had five of the 10 assists for the team on the afternoon while junior Jack Renard had three helpers to go along with his one goal.
The Mariners had two caused turnovers on the day as Renard alongside senior Max Maudsley each forced a Wildcat turnover. After Buser, Treon added six ground balls while Roros added four and sophomore Jake Erickson added three loose ball pickups.
In goal freshman Brendan Kane picked up the victory as he stopped 13 shots on target, improving to 12-2 on the year.
Johnson & Wales jumped out to a three-goal lead midway through the opening quarter before Dodson opened the scoring for the Mariners off a pass from Treon. Freshman Tristan Kelehan scored 59 seconds later to trim the deficit to 3-2. The Wildcats added a goal with 4:13 left to take a 4-2 advantage.
Junior Michael Rodriguez scored next followed by a quick faceoff win by Buser before Coll buried his first of the game to even the score at four.
The game progressed to the second quarter as Coll scored the next two with Treon notching assists on the pair to put the Mariners on top by two at 6-4 with 14:31 left in the half. The Wildcats notched the next two to even the score once again at six.
Coll added his fourth of the game at 8:05 before netting another just 25 seconds later. Johnson & Wales scored a man-up goal with 4:23 left in the half before Roros scored just under a minute later to put the Mariners back up by two. Coll added a man-up goal for his sixth of the half to give USMMA it largest lead of the game at 10-7 heading into the halftime break.
Johnson & Wales opened the second half with a goal just 34 seconds in on an extra-man opportunity. USMMA rallied with four unanswered a Coll got the scoring started followed by a goal from Treon with 10:53 left in the third.
Coll notched his record-setting goal with his eighth of the contest at the 10:43 mark as he scored his 63rd goal of the season, while also tying his career-high for goals in a single contest. Treon notched another goal just seconds later to give USMMA a 14-8 lead.
Johnson & Wales scored the final three goals of the third quarter before opening the fourth period with a fourth unanswered goal, trimming the Mariner lead back down to two at 14-12.
USMMA closed out the game on an 8-3 run as Renard opened the scoring in the fourth, followed by three-straight goals by Coll including a man-up tally with 9:14 to go. Dodson scored to give Merchant Marine a 19-12 win before Johnson & Wales ended the five-goal Mariner rally.
Roros scored followed by junior Matt Kane scoring his second goal of the season to put USMMA up by seven. Johnson & Wales scored next before Coll notched his 12th goal of the contest with 2:17 to go. The Wildcats added a goal with 60 seconds left as the Mariners were able to runaway late for the 22-15 victory.
Team stats were well in favor of the Mariners, who outshot Johnson & Wales by a 61-35 margin. USMMA won 31-of-40 draws, while picking up 47 ground balls to the 23 picked up by the Wildcats. USMMA was 7-of-12 on clears, while Johnson & Wales were able to convert on just over 50% of its clearing attempts.
USMMA (14-2) advances to face off against Tufts in the second round of the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship. The Mariners and Jumbos will begin at 4 p.m. on Bello Field. Live Stats and Live Video links for the contest are available on USMMAsports.com.
Johnson & Wales finishes it season with a 9-12 overall record, after a strong run through its conference championship as the sixth seed to qualify for the NCAA Championship. Johnson & Wales only graduates five seniors off of this year's team.