BOSTON, Mass. – The top-seeded Emmanuel College Men's Lacrosse Team took care of the 4th-seed and defending GNAC Champion Cadets of Norwich University, 11-2, in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) semifinal action on Friday night. With the win, the record-setting Saints improve to 14-3 on the season and will advance to host the GNAC Championship game on Sunday afternoon. The loss eliminated Norwich from the conference tournament, as the Cadets fall to 8-10 on the year.
The semifinal, played under the lights at Roberto Clemente Field in front of nearly 300 fans, was a rematch of last year's GNAC semifinal, in which the Cadets topped the Saints, 13-8, up in Northfield, Vermont. The Saints wasted no time, jumping out in front early and maintaining their lead throughout.
Senior captain Brian O'Regan (Milton, Mass.) found a cutting Donnie Litzelman (Exter, N.H.) for Emmanuel's first score of the night, just three minutes into the game. The hosts held a 3-0 lead after the first quarter, following goals from Justin Kelly (Collegeville, Pa.) and Michael Rogers (New Haven, Conn.).
Saints leading scorer Chris Curtis (Ashland, Mass.) drilled a laser past Norwich goalie Mark Paradiso (Westford, Mass.) for his 26th goal of the season and EC held a 4-0 advantage. Junior attack Evan Dolber (Malden, Mass.) scored off a pass from Kelly midway through the second period to give the Saints a 5-0 cushion.
Rookie middie Tony Cibelli (Westborough, Mass.) tacked one more on before the half ended, as Emmanuel held a 6-0 lead at the break. The Saints outshot the Cadets, 22-7, in the first half and Emmanuel's defense forced Norwich into 14 first-half turnovers.
The two squads played nearly an entire third period with scoreless action. Norwich got on the board with just three seconds remaining in the quarter, when C.J. Dolan (East Sandwich, Mass.) scored off a pass from Ian Mendoza (Mount Airy, Md.).
Holding a 6-1 lead, the Saints opened the fourth quarter with a quick slashing penalty just 14 seconds into the action. Norwich took advantage, with Zachary McMillan (Brunswick, Me.) netting a man-up goal with just eight seconds remaining on the EC penalty. McMillan's marker would cap the scoring for the Cadets on the night.
Emmanuel then rattled off five unanswered goals in a span of seven minutes. The O'Regan-Litzelman combo kicked off the scoring spree for the Saints, before Curtis fired in three-straight tallies in just three minutes time. An unassisted goal from Rogers ended it with Emmanuel taking home the 11-2 victory.
Curtis finished the night with a game-high four goals. Rogers and Litzelman notched two apiece, while Dolber, Cibelli and Kelly all scored once for the Saints. Cibelli and O'Regan dished out two assists each. Sophomore Jake Pickett (Stratham, N.H.) led EC with four ground balls, while Nick Delmonaco (Billerica, Mass.), Cibelli, Brendan Gallagher (Solon, Ohio), Kelly and Chris Baglivi (Mattituck, N.Y.) all picked up three ground balls in the win for the Saints.
Sophomore goalie Austin Lauzier (Bedford, N.H.) earned the win in goal for Emmanuel. Lauzier made 12 stops on the night and improved to 14-3 on the year.
Paradiso led Norwich with his 5 ground balls. The senior goalie made 6 saves in net for the Cadets.
Norwich held a 26-21 advantage in face-offs, while the Saints led in ground balls, 31-27. EC went 2-3 in man-up scoring opps, while the Cadets were 1-2.
Emmanuel will now advance to the GNAC Championship game for the first time in program history. The Saints will host 3rd-seeded Becker College, who upset No. 2 Lasell College, 12-11, in today's other GNAC semifinal. Emmanuel and Becker will face-off this Sunday at 1:00 p.m. on Roberto Clemente Field. The winner of the GNAC Championship will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
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