NORTHFIELD, Vt. - With their ninth win in a row, the Norwich University men's lacrosse team earned a spot in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship with a 17-8 victory over the Monks of Saint Joseph's College on Wednesday evening at Sabine Field.
The fourth-seeded Monks struck first with a man-up goal from Brendan Barrett, but the Norwich offense responded with four straight unanswered goals to take a 4-1 lead early. The Cadets' defensive unit put on a clinic in the second quarter to hold Saint Joseph's scoreless while the Cadets tallied four more goals to take an 8-2 into the halftime break.
Needing a strong third quarter, the Monks started off the second half with a Glen Dion goal off an assist from Matt Donnell. However, like he did all night, junior Cody Moore (Canton, N.Y.) responded with a goal moments later to stop the Monks' momentum in its tracks. Josh Jenkins (Centennial, Colo.) netted another goal less than thirty seconds later to make it 10-3 Norwich and the Cadets looked to be well on their way to a runaway victory.
Saint Joseph's refused to concede that easily, as the Monks rattled off three straight unanswered goals to cut into the Norwich lead and enter the final stanza trailing by only four goals.
The two teams swapped goals for much of the first half of the fourth quarter, as the Cadets couldn't pull away and the Monks couldn't completely close the gap. With seven minutes to go, the Cadets turned up the offensive pressure and went on to rattle off four straight goals to seal up the 17-8 victory.
Cody Moore led the way for the Cadets, scoring six goals on seven shots and picking up the maroon and gold every time they needed a timely goal. Senior Ian Kennedy (Gloucester, Mass.) tallied two goals and four assists, while classmate Matt Shea (Arlington, Mass.) scored two and assisted on two for a four-point day. Brandon Milburn (Bridgewater, N.J.) had one of his best games of the season between the pipes at just the right time, making 14 saves in goal to pick up the win. On the faceoff dot, it was all Jack Dwyer (Shelburne, Vt.) on the evening as the senior went a dominant 25-27 on faceoffs.
Connor Trainor put forth an excellent effort in goal for Saint Joseph's, making 10 saves on 27 shots on the evening. Both Michael Finn and Glenn Dion scored two goals apiece to lead the Monks' offense.
With the win, Norwich advances to the GNAC Championship game for the first time since 2013 when the Cadets defeated Mount Ida 9-7 for the program's first and only GNAC Championship. The Cadets will square off with the Johnson & Wales Wildcats on Saturday afternoon after the Wildcats defeated Lasell College by an 11-10 final score in overtime to earn their place in the title game. The Wildcats handed Norwich their only conference defeat of the season on March 31 with a 14-13 overtime victory at Sabine Field.
As the number one overall seed, Norwich will host the championship game on Saturday afternoon at 1:00pm.