SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Taking on the top-ranked NCAA Division II program in the country, the 17th-ranked Saint Anselm College men's lacrosse team stunned previously-unbeaten Le Moyne College by a 9-8 score in overtime on Friday in the Northeast-10 Conference Semifinals.
The Hawks improve to 11-4 on the season and will play in their first-ever NE10 Championship game on Sunday, May 6 at 1 p.m. Saint Anselm will face the winner of the 4 p.m. NE10 Semifinal showdown between No. 4 Adelphi and No. 2 Merrimack.
Le Moyne, ranked first in NCAA Division II by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association, falls to 15-1 on the year – the Dolphins were the final team in the division without a loss.
Down by a 2-0 margin shortly into the second quarter, the Hawks fired off six-straight goals to capture a 7-2 lead with 6:58 left in the third quarter. The Dolphins countered with six of the game's final seven goals in regulation time, including a game-tying strike with 21 seconds left from Justin Kesselring.
Following a failed offensive possession by the Dolphins, the Hawks turned to their offense in the final minute of the first overtime period. Taking advantage of a fallen defender, junior Patrick Sweeney cut from left to right and beat Le Moyne goaltender Jack Sweeney for the game-winning goal with 47 seconds left in overtime.
Junior Anthony Busconi led the way with three goals and an assist for four points (3-1=4). Senior Ryan Hesseltine and Sweeney each scored twice with freshmen Griffin Shoemaker and Matt Ward scoring one goal apiece. Xavier Quinn and Sean Tomaszewski each tallied an assist in the victory.
Hawks netminder Matt Richard made 10 saves in the winning effort. Sweeney yielded nine goals on eight shots while Kyle Lumpe, who earned the win over Saint Anselm during the regular season, played 76 seconds in relief to close out the fourth quarter for the Dolphins.
With three seconds left in the first quarter, Le Moyne's Devin Andrews found the back of the net off an assist from Jake Lewis to create a 1-0 lead. Both teams ended the first 15 minutes with nine shots, but the Hawks were unable to capitalize after committing seven first-quarter turnovers.
Down by a 2-0 margin in the second quarter, the Hawks scored three-straight goals leading into halftime to capture a 3-2 advantage through 30 minutes. Ward, Sweeney and Busconi accounted for the Hawks scoring, helping their team overcome 13 first-half miscues. Richard stood tall for the Hawks in the second stanza, making seven saves through the first half.
Saint Anselm scored five of the third quarter's seven goals before Le Moyne began to turn up the offensive pressure. The Dolphins ripped 24 shots in the second half alone, limiting the Hawks to only 12 through the final 30 minutes of regulation. Kesselring and Ross Filtch each scored twice for Le Moyne, tying the game at eight to end regulation time.
A detailed preview of the NE10 Championship game will be published on SaintAnselmHawks.com in the coming days.