Nazareth Stuns No. 5 Stevens, 13-12
from press release
HOBOKEN, N.J. - Freshman Collin Clark scored a career-best five goals, including the game-winner early in the fourth quarter Friday, as third-seeded Nazareth stunned second-seeded Stevens, 13-12, in the opening round of the Empire 8 Conference Tournament for men's lacrosse.
The victory, which avenged a 19-6 defeat to the Ducks on April 23, improved Nazareth's overall record to 11-5 and lifted the Golden Flyers in Sunday's Empire 8 Conference title game at RIT. The Golden Flyers will take on the top-seeded and second-ranked Tigers (16-0) Sunday at 12 p.m. at RIT Field. The Tigers defeated Ithaca, 13-9, in the other first-round game. Stevens, ranked fifth nationally, is 15-2.
"Needless to say, this is a great win for us," said Nazareth Coach Rob Randall. "We needed some guys to step up and play well for us and that's what happened."
Specifically senior Joe Jacobs-Ferderbar, who was shut out in last Saturday's regular-season finale at RIT before emerging with three goals and two assists against the Ducks. In addition, sophomore goalie Tim Doyle made 17 saves, including a game-preserving stop on a shot by the Ducks' Brandon Faubert with :42 left. Defenseman Mitchel Frey scooped up the ensuing ground ball and Nazareth successfully cleared the ball and ran the clock out.
Trailing 12-11 heading into the fourth quarter, Nazareth got an early unassisted goal from sophomore midfielder Brian Wright, then Clark scored the go-ahead goal off an assist from Jacobs-Ferderbar as Nazareth broke free from Stevens' 10-man ride. Clark's goal came with 10:52 left and neither team scored thereafter.
As the game started, it looked like an instant replay of the teams' regular-season meeting as Stevens scored just 37 seconds into the game and emerged with a 4-1 lead just over five minutes in. Nazareth hung tough as Clark scored twice in the first quarter, including one on an extra-man pass from Scott Castle as the Golden Flyers drew within 6-4 after one quarter.
Kevin Rose scored for Stevens in the second quarter, then Nazareth scored four straight -- two each from Clark and Jacobs-Ferderbar -- to go up 8-7. Stevens evened the score at 8-8 with a goal by Rich Dupras with :04 left in the half.
The lead see-sawed back and fourth in the third quarter with Stevens taking a 12-11 advantage into the fourth quarter on goals by Christian Saley and Nicolas Philippi in the closing minutes of the third. Wright, Jacobs-Ferderbar and C.J. Estes had third-quarter goals for Nazareth.
That set the stage for the decisive fourth quarter as Nazareth kept Stevens off the scoreboard despite being outshot 15-8. Doyle made seven of his saves in the final 15 minutes.
"It's a great win, but there were a lot of things we could have done better," Randall said. "We could have cleared the ball better and we took a lot of needless penalties. I guess we did the things we needed to do when we had to."
Nazareth had eight penalties for 5:30 and Stevens converted three times on extra-man. Nazareth went 2-for-3 on extra man.
Clark also had an assist in addition to his five goals. Estes and Wright each scored twice and Castle had one goal and two assists. Senior R.J. Gringeri won 10 of 23 face-offs and had a team-best seven ground balls. Junior defender Tucker Sampson had five ground balls and two caused turnovers.
Sunday, Nazareth gets another crack at RIT, which improved to 16-0 and remains the only ubeaten team in Division III. The winner gains an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Nazareth is seeking its 19th NCAA berth.