MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The Mustangs were not to be denied on this bright and sunny day this afternoon at Drake Field as the Morrisville State College Mustangs made history with their 13-8 win over rival Keuka College in the 2015 NEAC Championship Final. The victory gives this year's conference coach of the year Jason Longo his second NEAC Tournament Championship but it is the first that automatically qualifies Morrisville State for the NCAA Division III National Tournament.
A hard fought, well played contest worthy of a championship final, the game came down to three things propelling the Mustangs to victory. A total team effort saw eight different Morrisville State players score, a decisive second period where the Mustangs outscored the Wolfpack 6-3 and the brilliant play of 2015 NEAC Tournament MVP Chris Fiore (Staten Island, N.Y.) who made eleven saves to keep Keuka at bay all game long.
With the program's first NCAA appearance on the line, the Mustangs wasted no time as Chad Izyk (North Syracuse, N.Y.) scored just twenty seconds into the game for the early 1-0 lead. The Wolfpack quieted the crowd with back-to-back goals to take a 2-1 advantage, letting everyone know they weren't going to go down without a fight. The Mustangs responded right back with two goals by Dylan Lyons (Camillus, N.Y.) and Louie Geswaldo (Lafayette, N.Y.) to retake the lead at the end of one period.
Keuka opened the second period with a goal from Jamie Kuppel to knot the game up again at three apiece before Geswaldo tallied an unassisted goal at the 12:30 mark in the second to give the Mustangs a 4-3 lead, one which they would not relinquish for the rest of the game. Both teams traded goals back and forth until Morrisville State scored three unanswered goals by Andrew Donoghue (Rochester, N.Y.), Brendan Shannon (Stanhope, N.J.) and Jeffrey Andrensen (Ocean City, Md.). Andrensen's first goal of the season came with one second left in the second period, a crushing blow for Keuka heading into halftime.
In the second half, Morrisville State used Lyons second goal of the afternoon to extend the lead to 10-5 before the Wolfpack tried to make it a game with back-to-back goals to put the score at 10-7. The Mustangs responded with three unanswered goals by Dounoghue, Brad Biggs (Tully, N.Y.) and John Sherlock (Tully, N.Y.) to close the door on any Keuka comeback. Keuka managed to score once more at the 3:01 mark in the fourth period but it was too little, too late as the Mustangs rushed the field in celebration when the final horn sounded, signaling that they were indeed the 2015 NEAC Tournament Champions.
For the game, Geswaldo scored six points on two goals with four assists, Donoghue led the team with three goals and John Petriello (Carmel, N.Y.) won 10 out of 14 face offs for the Mustangs. In net Fiore made 11 saves on his way to earning tournament MVP honors and earning his eleventh win on the season.
Up next, the first NCAA Division III National Tournament game in Morrisville State College Men's Lacrosse program history. The Mustangs will find out who they will be matched up against on Sunday, May 3rd at 9pm as the seeding will be unveiled during the live broadcast of the NCAA Division III selection show.
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.