Conor Malangone '11 Rallies Men's Lax Past Williams, 4-3, with a Hat Trick - Then Amherst Takes Little 3 Title with 4-2 Victory
Led by a hat trick from Conor Malangone '11 (#44, photo by Oliver Citrin 14), Wesleyan rallied from a 3-1 second-quarter deficit to take a 4-3 victory over Williams Sat., April 16. With the win, Wesleyan improved to 9-3 on the season and 4-3 in NESCAC action, while Williams fell to 1-9 overall and 1-6 in conference play.
Malangone netted the game-winner with 5:23 left in the third quarter. Following a turnover in the midfield area by Williams, John Olbeter '11 scooped up the ground ball and fed Malangone in front of the Williams net. Malangone beat the Williams keeper low for his 11th goal of the season. Malangone had also scored 29 seconds into the third to tie the game, as Williams led 3-2 at halftime.
The visitors had drawn first blood, moving out to a 1-0 lead just 11 seconds into the contest after winning the opening faceoff. Wesleyan answered courtesy of Malangone, who put home a high shot at the 8:31 mark in the first off a pass from Adam Michael '11. Williams took a 2-1 lead with 4:43 left in the quarter and moved ahead 3-1 at the 11:39 mark of the second quarter. Wesleyan narrowed the deficit to 3-2 with 10:21 remaining before halftime when Aiden Daniell '14 netted his 13th goal of the year on a long shot from the right side.
The teams survived a frantic final two minutes, with each squad threatening to find the back of the cage. Williams was called for a slash with 1:41 remaining, giving Wesleyan a minute-long extra-man opportunity, but the Williams goalie stopped a pair of Wesleyan scoring bids, and the Ephs regained possession with 20 seconds remaining. Williams legged the ball into the box with 13 seconds to go but was unable to get a shot off and turned the ball over as time expired.
Goalie Grant Covington '12, who collared the final ground ball for Wesleyan, had four stops on the day. The Cardinals held a commanding 37-14 edge in shots but put just 16 on net thanks in large part to a stingy Williams defense. Wesleyan had a strong showing in its defensive end as well, causing 10 of Williams' 27 turnovers and holding the Ephs without a shot on goal for the final 16:11.
Wesleyan returned to action on Sat., April 23 at 10th-ranked Amherst in a game that decided this year's Little Three title. Teddy Citrin '12 (#20, photo insert lower right) scored the game's first two goals in the opening quarter before Amherst responded with a first-period marker. The score remained unchanged for 37 minutes in the defensive struggle before the Lord Jeffs knotted the score with 13:23 left in the fourth period. Amherst picked up the game-winner with 6:38 to go and tacked on an insurance marker with 4:00 left in the 4-2 win. Amherst ended a 13-game skid vs. Wesleyan dating back to 1999.
Wesleyan outshot its host by a 45-25 margin but the Lord Jeffs keeper was on his game with 18 saves. Covington had a strong game with eight stops. Ground balls were nearly even and Amherst took a majority of the faceoffs, 7-3.
Now 4-4 in conference play, Wesleyan hosts Amherst in the final game of the regular-season Fri., April 29, before heading into NESCAC tournament action Sun., May 1. The Cardinals are assured of no worse than the #5 seed in the tournament and, with help from Williams, could get a home game if the Ephs upset Middlebury in their regular-season finale. Tufts will be the top seed in the tournament for the second year in a row and Amherst will take on Trinity with the winner securing the #2 seed.