MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The Morrisville State College men's lacrosse team took over first place in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) standings Saturday afternoon, as they defeated visiting Keuka College 6-4 on Drake Field in a game that stood for not just bragging rights in conference play, but a farewell to the Mustang senior class and benefit for the Wounded Warrior Project.
The win boosts the Mustangs to 6-5 overall, 5-0 within the NEAC, while Keuka College drops to 6-3, 6-1 in conference action. The win is the fifth straight for Morrisville State.
Morrisville State put together an all-around team effort Saturday to pull off the victory en route to the win. Eliud Evans (Culver City, Calif.) and Louie Geswaldo (LaFayette, N.Y.) each notched two scores for the Mustangs, while seniors Brendan Shannon (Stanhope, N.J.) and Andrew Donoghue (Rochester, N.Y.) tallied one apiece. Brad Biggs (Tully, N.Y.) and senior Dylan Lyons (Camillus, N.Y.) were credited with an assist each.
The Mustangs had a monster game from goalkeeper Chris Fiore (Staten Island, N.Y.) who registered 16 stops on the day, five alone in the final quarter, while allowing just four scores.
Jamie Kuppel paced the Wolfpack with three goals, while Matt Beebe added a score and an assist.
Keuka's Eric Saltrelli posted the loss in net for the Wolfpack, recording eight saves in the efforts for the visitors.
Morrisville State struck first on the day, an unassisted tally by Geswaldo who juked the defensive player and rifled the shot past Saltrelli for the 1-0 Mustang lead at 10:34 in the first quarter.
The Mustangs maintained the lead until the 12:06 mark of the second quarter when a Beebe score evened the contest at one. Nearly 10 minutes later, though, Morrisville State turned on the offensive pressure and Geswaldo notched his second of the day down the center of the box to regain the lead for the Mustangs with 2:18 showing on the clock. Just over a minute later, Lyons hit Evans on a back door cut and put the ball past Saltrelli for a 3-1 Morrisville State lead at the half.
In the third, Morrisville State posted two straight, including one by Shannon who collected the loose ground ball off a save and fired the ball into the left corner of the net for a 4-1 Mustang lead at 10:24.
With 5:48 remaining in the quarter, the Mustangs took advantage of a non-releasable unsportsmanlike penalty and notched another for the four goal cushion as Biggs fed Evans from behind the crease for the tally.
Kuppel was able to sneak one past Fiore with 2:06 to go in the third, breaking a nearly 25 minute scoring drought for the visitors, to send the game into the final stanza with a 5-2 host lead.
Midway through the fourth Kuppel posted his second of the day, and added another four minutes later to make it a thrilling contest for the final 2:20 of the game. Both of Keuka's tallies came off of Mustang turnovers.
In the closing minute of the contest, Morrisville State cleared the ball and struck quick in transition, with Donoghue throwing a fake on the crease and sealing the win for the Mustangs with the final tally with just 28.8 ticks remaining.
Prior to the contest, Morrisville State honored its 2015 senior class of Jeffrey Andresen (Ocean City, Md.), Donoghue, Chad Dorrance (Cazenovia, N.Y.), Nick Perrotta (Albany, N.Y.), Tom Rosaschi (East Syracuse, N.Y.), Lyons and Shannon.
Proceeds from today's game benefited the Wounded Warrior Project, an ongoing community service effort for the Mustangs for a fifth straight season. During the contest, they wore commemorative jerseys that resembled the American flag, and were marked with words that reflected the commitment, duty and service of our Nation's military branches.
Morrisville State returns to the field Monday, traveling to Wells College for a 4 p.m. NEAC contest.
Morrisville State's curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.
In addition to being named to the 2014 President's Higher Community Education Service Honor Roll, the college was recognized by U.S. News and World Report as an institution in the top tier of the Best Regional Colleges list and ranked second among regional colleges nationwide for outperforming its anticipated graduation rate. For more information visit www.morrisville.edu.