Cardinals Suffer First-Ever Loss in NESCAC First-Round Men's Lax Tourney Game as Trinity Prevails, 10-5
Having reached the NESCAC semi-finals each of the last eight seasons and nine times in nine appearances in the NESCAC playoffs, Wesleyan experienced a first-round NESCAC tournament setback for the first time in history Sun., May 1, when fourth-seeded Trinity withstood a bit of a Wesleyan rally and came away a 10-5 victor over the fifth-seeded Cardinals. Trinity, ranked 13th nationally, moves on to the semi-finals for the first time in the 11 years of NESCAC post-season tournament play.
Aidan Daniell '14 (#11, photo) was the offensive sparkplug for the Cardinals after Wesleyan found itself in a early 4-0 hole. The Bantams found the net for a quartet of tallies just 5:47 into the contest. Graham Gnall '11 and Conor Malangone '11 countered a pair of Bantam markers to make it 6-2 midway through the second period. Daniell then scored his first goal of the contest with just 11 seconds left before halftime on a long bouncer from the middle to make it 6-3 at intermission.
Daniell then opened the second-half scoring 48 second into the third period, converting a smart pass from Teddy Citrin '12 into Wesleyan's fourth goal as the Cardinals continued their momentum. But Wesleyan failed to capitalize on opportunities over the next 10 minutes and a Trinity goal at the 3:35 mark took some of the wind out of the Cardinals' sails. The back-breaker came when Trinity put one home with only four seconds showing on the third-period clock to reclaim a four-goal margin, 8-4.
It took Daniell 6:03 to complete his hat trick in the fourth quarter, leaving Wesleyan just under nine minutes to try and make up an 8-5 differential. But it wasn't to be as Wesleyan's shooting woes, which contributed to only 16 shots on goal out of 40 attempts, limited the Cardinals' chances. Trintiy scored the final two goals in the final five minutes to win going away and propel the Bantams to a meeting with Middlebury in the semis. Host Tufts takes on upstart Bowdoin, which defeated the Jumbos soundly on the final day of the regular season, in the other semi Sat., May 6. Winners meet on Sun., May 7.
Daniell ended the year with 16 goals as the top newcomer on the squad along with defensive starter Elliott Albert '14. Citrin and Max Landow '12, who both had an assist at Trinity, tied for the team lead in points with 32 apiece, while Citrin's 26 goals represented a team high and Landow's 15 assists was one behind leader DJ Bernatavitz '12. Goalie Grant Covington '12, who played all but 42:24 of the available minutes for the year, had a.556 save percentage and a 7.48 goals-against average. He led the team with 57 ground balls while Gabe Kelley '11 was the leader among field players with 39 grounders. While caused turnovers were only maintained in about half of the games during the season, defender Mike Robinson '13 was by far the team's best with his stick as the 19 CTs credited to him were more than any other two Cardinal players combined.
The 10-5 overall record was the 12th time in the last 14 years the squad has posted a winning mark. The other two seasons were both .500 records.