ROCHESTER, N.Y.–Junior Adam Knapton, junior Sean Lawton and sophomore Jon Bota combined for nine goals and 15 points as unranked Western New England held on for a 15-12 comeback victory Saturday to upset nationally No. 9-ranked Nazareth on the road in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Division III Men’s Lacrosse Championship at Golden Flyer Stadium. The Golden Bears improve to 13-6 while the host Golden Flyers end their season at 15-5.
Western New England has won three straight in the all-time series–all on Nazareth home soil. The Golden Bears also improve to 7-5 in this, their sixth NCAA appearance since 2002. The Golden Bears will play the Aurora at SUNY Cortland winner on Wednesday in the NCAA Quarterfinals.
Knapton had game highs of four assists and six points, Lawton scored three goals and had two assists and Bota led all goal-scorers with four for the Golden Bears, who led 9-8 at halftime.
For Nazareth, Luke Wooters had a game-tying six points while Chris Aycock and Troy Haefele both registered three goals and one assist. Drew Simoneau was a force in the Golden Flyers possession game by winning 22 of 30 face-offs and earning 17 ground balls.
With Western New England trailing 8-6 with 6 minutes and 48 seconds left in the first half, Lawton scored 54 seconds later to spark a 7-0 run that helped the Golden Bears reclaim their advantage at 13-8 with 6:56 to go in the third quarter. During that stretch, senior Corbett Corrigan-Harreys–returning to the lineup after missing several games with an injury–scored the first of his two man-up tallies and senior defenseman Aaron Harris found the back of the net on a man-down situation. Bota broke an 8-8 deadlock at the 3:37 mark of the first half that put WNE in the lead to stay.
Western New England jumped out to a 5-1 lead, including two goals apiece from Knapton and Bota, before Wooters scored with 1 second left in the first quarter that ignited a 7-1 run for the Golden Flyers. Aycock had an unassisted goal at 11:39 on the second-quarter clock to give Nazareth its first lead of the afternoon, 6-5.
Sophomore Brandon Body stopped 12 shots in the WNE goal, while Scott Brown had 11 saves for Nazareth.
Nazareth dominated in ground balls (48-34) and face-offs won (22-8), but WNE took advantage of 23 Golden Flyers turnovers–including 13 in the second half when it held them to four goals for the last 30 minutes after allowing six in the second quarter alone. Senior captain Brian Leistikow, Harris and junior Jack Liacos led the defense with four, three and four ground balls, respectively, while Nicky Donovan chipped in four ground balls.
Western New England was 3-for-5 on the man-up and Nazareth scored twice in eight attempts.
Photo courtesy Western New England Athletics