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NEC men’s lacrosse team headed back to NCAA tournament

  • The NEC men’s lacrosse team celebrates after winning their second consecutive NAC title on Saturday in Henniker. The Pilgrims topped Castleton State, 12-3, to advance to the NCAA Division III tournament for the fourth time since 2012. Mike Broglio / Courtesy

  • The NEC men’s lacrosse team celebrates after winning their second consecutive NAC title on Saturday in Henniker. The Pilgrims topped Castleton State, 12-3, to advance to the NCAA Division III tournament for the fourth time since 2012. Mike Broglio / Courtesy



Monitor staff
Saturday, May 06, 2017

The New England College men’s lacrosse team has developed a good habit of scoring early and often this season, especially against teams in the North Atlantic Conference.

Heading into Saturday’s NAC tournament championship game against Castleton State, the Pilgrims had outscored their conference opponents 172-61 in the first half. So it was a little surprising when NEC only led 4-2 at halftime of its sixth straight trip to the NAC title game.

It was a narrow margin, but nothing the top-seeded Pilgrims couldn’t handle. After firing off 12 shots over the first two quarters combined, NEC took 12 shots in the third quarter alone, scoring six times to take a 10-2 lead heading into the final frame and an eventual 12-3 victory.

The win helped the Pilgrims (13-5) punch their ticket to the NCAA Division III men’s lacrosse tournament for the fourth time since 2012. NEC also secured its second conference crown in a row. The Pilgrims will have to wait until Sunday at 9 p.m. to find out who they’ll take on in the first round.

In Saturday’s game, John Stark graduate Matt Richard led the way with three goals and two assists. The junior attackman broke the school record of 107 points in a single season in Wednesday’s semifinal win over Husson, a day after winning his second consecutive NAC Player of the Year award. Richard leads all of D-III in points per game with 6.76 headed into the tournament. His point total this season is now up to 120 – 56 goals, 64 assists.

Daniel Medvetz, another John Stark product, also tallied a goal and three assists, while Norwalk, Conn., native Sean Largay scored three times. Largay’s goal with five seconds remaining in the first half helped spark the second-half run for NEC. Sophomore Connor Fries also caused a game-high six turnovers, scooped up six ground balls and won three faceoffs.

After allowing Castleton (10-9) to score twice in the first half, NEC went into lockdown mode defensively and allowed just one more goal all afternoon, despite the Spartans firing off 17 shots in the second half. William Platt collected a season-high 16 saves for the Pilgrims.