Melaugh, Morgan on Merrimack’s Game-Winning Strike Against Bentley

Merrimack escaped Gillette Stadium with a last second goal by junior Greg Melaugh, which lifted the Warriors past Bentley University. (Photo Credit: Merrimack College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan 

FOXBOROUGH, MA – With less than one minute remaining in regulation, and the score tied, 11-11, Merrimack’s sophomore Brandon Waiter scooped up the biggest ground ball of Saturday’s contests in the Warriors zone, and then directed the ball to sophomore teammate Jimmy Holland.

Holland, who cradled the ball for a few strides, eventually found senior John Smyth on the far side of the Bentley zone, who then targeted junior Greg Melaugh.

Melaugh collected Holland’s pass, dodged through the Falcons zone, and rifled his second consecutive game-winning strike in four days over the right shoulder of sophomore netminder Brian Karl with 14 seconds remaining, which lifted Merrimack past Bentley, 12-11 at Gillette Stadium.

“[Greg] is a very good offensive player, [and] the game against St. A’s in overtime was big, and then today, you go out there and you get late in the game and it’s back and fourth, they take a lead, we tie it up, we take a lead, they tie it up, and then you need somebody to make a big play,” said Merrimack head coach Mike Morgan. “Next thing you know, Greg [came] sweeping across lefty, [and] just stung one top corner.”

Prior to Melaugh’s clincher, Merrimack called a timeout with 50 ticks remaining, and crafted a possible goal-scoring opportunity, which ended up working out quite well.

“We came out of a timeout [late in the fourth quarter], and we were happy to have [Brandon] on ball, he’s probably one of our better takeaway guys, if not our best, and him putting the ball on the ground is obviously the way we get the ball back,” exclaimed Morgan. “And then from there, ball on the ground, moves it to Holland, moves it to Smythe, who had a great clear, and then the rest is kind of just Greg, but yeah, it all started with Brandon.”

Melaugh, who ended the contest with five goals and one assist, was all smiles after the game, especially when he regaled how his game-winning strike came to be.

“John Smyth ended up carrying the ball over, and a couple games ago there was a time at the end of the game and I was like, ‘you’ve got to get me the ball when I’m open’ and he knew to give me the ball and he just gave me the flip, the [defense] played me too aggressive and I had space down the middle and I just took it,” Melaugh said of his game-winning strike.

“Last game, I scored in overtime, so it’s becoming sort of a trend,” added Melaugh.

New England Lacrosse Classic: Game Summaries

By NoontimeSports.com 

Here is our recap from Saturday’s New England Lacrosse Classic, which featured two collegiate games and one high school match.

Foxborough 6, Sandwich 2: In the first game of the day, Foxborough High School’s boy’s lacrosse team earned their sixth victory of the season by defeating Sandwich by four goals. Tyler Ames paced the Warriors with two goals and one assist, while Villanova-bound netminder Greg Stamatov deflected nine shots between the pipes. Nick Buttafuaco and Liam White each notched a goal for Sandwich in the loss.

Merrimack 12, Bentley 11: Merrimack sophomore Brandon Walter scooped up the biggest ground ball of the contest with 27 seconds remaining in regulation, and initiated the game-winning strike, as junior Greg Melaugh received the ball a few seconds after a Warriors clear and rushed into the Bentley zone to net his fifth goal of the contest.

John Smyth ended up carrying the ball over, and a couple games ago there was a time at the end of the game and I was like, ‘you’ve got to get me the ball when I’m open’ and he knew to give me the ball and he just gave me the flip, the [defense] played me too aggressive and I had space down the middle and I just took it,” Melaugh said of his game-winning strike.

Melaugh’s clincher was marked his second in four days — the junior scored the game-winner against St. Anselm on Apr. 17, which lifted the Warriors past Hawks, 11-10 in North Andover.

UMass 14, Hofstra 13: The Minutemen marched off the Gillette Stadium turf with their 12th victory of the season, and also a CAA division crown, as they defeated Hofstra by one goal.

Senior Art Kell and junior Kyle Smith paced the Minutemen with three goals a piece, while red shirt senior Tim McCormack deflected seven shots between the pipes.

UMass jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but Hofstra responded with two back-to-back tallies by sophomore Lance Yapor and freshman Mike Malave. The Minutemen answered with four additional tallies, and entered halftime with an 8-4 lead, which eventually transformed to 10-10 after three frames.

Hofstra earned the lead once the fourth quarter began with an unassisted strike by junior John Antoniades before UMass strung together four consecutive goals, which helped the Minutemen preserve their perfect record.

Princeton Takes Down Ivy League Foe Dartmouth, 8-4

By Stacey Kilpatrick 

2010’s New England Lacrosse Classic saw Princeton University defeat Brown University and Dartmouth College shock Cornell University, but 2011’s Ivy League match-up on Saturday saw last year’s winners pinned up against one another. The result? Princeton doubled Dartmouth, 8-4.

“Huge, huge (win for us),” said Princeton head coach Chris Bates, a 1990 Dartmouth graduate. “I mean we needed it. Dartmouth is a good team, well coached team. So it was huge for us. We needed this one.”

“There’s no question that if you’re going to turn the ball over 18 times against a quality opponent, you’re probably not going to win,” said Dartmouth head coach Andrew Towers.

“It’s immensely frustrating to have a group of guys who care so much about the program and team being successful, and you know, having stick fundamentals, stick mistakes account for 18 turnovers in a game that we felt was a very winnable game and a great opportunity to move our program forward,” continued Towers.

Princeton’s Luke Armour scored the first goal of the game at 4:27 in the first quarter, with a falling throw from the left of the crease against Dartmouth’s goalkeeper, Fergus Campbell.

Patrick Resch tied it 1-all for Dartmouth at 10:36 in the second from the attack, scoring on Princeton’s goalie, Tyler Fiorito, with the assist from Kip Dooley.

“Kip is a phenomenal, phenomenal guy,” Towers said. “He’s one of the best leaders I’ve been around, one of the hardest workers I’ve been around (and) he’s a phenomenal lacrosse player. He’s an emotional, competitive, natural leader who the guys look to at crunch time and he’s consistently delivered through his first three years here and I think he’s one of the best players in the country and I wouldn’t trade him for anybody.”

Princeton then charged ahead for the lead at 5:04, making it 2-1 from a Jeff Froccaro score (four goals) by a Tom Schreiber assist (one goal, three assists).

“(Froccaro) … struggled this year a little bit finding the back of the net,” Bates said. “He obviously put the ball away today, so that’s encouraging … and Schreiber’s made some big plays.

“We’ve struggled offensively this year; that’s an understatement,” continued Bates. “We need those two. It was good to see Jeff get on track.”

Dartmouth came back to tie it once again, 2-all, when Dooley nailed his shot from just outside the crease with 0:15 remaining in the second quarter.

The first half ended with a 2-2 score, with Princeton outshooting Dartmouth, 24-16.

“At halftime we thought we were actually in pretty good shape,” Bates said. “You know we generated 24 shots. Their goalie (Campbell) had played very well; 12 saves in the first half. So it wasn’t a sense of panic. We felt like, you know alright, they’re bending, we just got to get them to break.”

And break Dartmouth, Princeton did. The Tigers held a three-goal advantage, 6-3, at 13:03 in the fourth.

Froccaro, Schreiber, Chris McBride and Long Ellis made shots for Princeton; Ellis with a Tiger Woods first pump and a grass dive celebration, while Dartmouth’s Brendan Rotanz nailed a running goal, the team’s third.

Jeff Perkins put a bouncing shot in back of Princeton’s net while falling at 9:58 in the fourth, bringing Dartmouth behind by just two at 6-4.

But, Froccaro knew he wanted victory for Princeton and he knew how to get it; by scoring the team’s final two goals of the night at 6:48 and 1:41, with the latter being when he came from around the left corner on an almost open net just as Campbell scrambled back for the attempted block.

“Princeton’s a great opponent and their coaches do a great job of getting those guys ready to compete,” said Towers, “and I think that in the end I feel like it’s probably an issue of us not catching, throwing (and) scooping the ball consistently and it falls back on me as the head coach, as not structuring practice in a way that develops those key fundamentals in a manner that allows us to replicate them on game day. I felt that in the end our lack of fundamentals and some stick did us in.

“We put a very good effort in and I know my guys care a great deal about this opportunity,” continued Towers, “and I know they feel fortunate enough to play lacrosse at this level to represent Dartmouth and I’m proud of the physical effort that these guys made.”

“Until the very end it was never at a reach,” Bates said, “but you know we felt good. I thought … defensively we played well and then (we) got a couple opportunities … in the third period that I think just gave us a little bit of a sigh of relief that, alright, we can solve the goalie and put some balls in the back of the net. That was critical.”

#1 Syracuse Scores 8-Goals in the Fourth, Beat Providence, 13-3

By Matt Noonan

FOXBOROUGH, MA – During the months of March and April, Gillette Stadium is usually the home to the New England Revolution (MLS), but on an overcast Saturday afternoon in April, it was instead the backyard to the New England Lacrosse Classic.

Four schools from the northeast, which included Syracuse, Providence, Dartmouth and Princeton all gathered to showcase their skills, but also play lacrosse in front of 5,316 fans and game one featured a Big East clash that resulted in another win for the best team in the nation, the Orangemen, as they defeated the Friars, 13-3.

“We knew were going to get that [win],” said Syracuse University head coach John Desko.

“In a low scoring game, I don’t think people expected that, but I thought the environment was great,” said Providence College head coach Chris Burdick.

“I thought our kids responded to the environment very well because you’ve got to look at it from our point of view, teaching and growing the program. Our freshmen just got exposed to a Final Four environment, so that’s the goal for us to end up at that level eventually.”

The Friars scored first when Sean Wright set up Steve Lydon, which resulted in a 1-0 lead for Providence, but the excitement didn’t last long, as Syracuse responded nearly three minutes later when Bobby Eilers recorded his first of three goals.

Providence recorded two more goals during the first quarter, thanks to Evan Helda and Wright, but those would be the only scores the Friars would register for the day. Syracuse eventually tied the score after the first quarter and then added one goal in the second and another in the third, before tallying eight in the fourth quarter.

“We didn’t want to come out in the second half and do stupid things and let them get a goal or two,” said Dasko. “We changed our offense in the fourth quarter and fortunately broke free in the fourth quarter for a bunch of goals.”

Syracuse literally scored on every offensive possession in the fourth quarter, as Jeremy Thompson, Stephen Keogh, Joel White, Derek Maltz, Pete Coleman, Steve Ianzito and Eilers all recorded goals. Also, the Orange completely outshot the Friars, 40-12.    

“It’s exciting playing at a NFL stadium with that kind of crowd. I love getting up for

the big crowd,” Syracuse attack Stephen Keogh said after his team’s win.

“I just want to do anything I can for the team. If it’s scoring big goals like that I’m fine with that, but we have so many other players that can step up with that. Fortunately it’s been me so far, but it’s not always going to be me, other people stepping up and just as long as we get the win that’s all that matters to me.”

Obviously, the Friars coaches and players were rattled during the electrifying fourth quarter, but this game was certainly a confident booster, especially for an up and coming college lacrosse program.

“We can play with them,” said Providence midfielder Steve Lydon. “We showed that we could stay with them for three quarters. Unfortunately we couldn’t finish them off, [but] we were confident going in, we weren’t going to back down from it also that’s what we had and we just couldn’t fall through.”

The Orangemen maybe indeed the best lacrosse school in the country, but after a game like today, they certainly know they are indeed vulnerable and can be beaten. Whether Providence’s three quarters scared Syracuse is unknown, but again, after a game like this one, Providence should certainly hold their heads high because theire efforts did not go unnoticed.

“Right now, I think the guys responded and played up to the level and up to the environment and I’m proud of them for [their effort],” said Burdick.