DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- Junior Mike Rizzo (Bridgewater, Mass.) and freshman Griffin Wiencek (Sherwood, Ore.) each netted a pair of goals and an assist for three points, as fourth-seeded UMass Dartmouth notched a 9-6 victory over fifth-seeded Eastern Connecticut in quarterfinal round play of the 2019 Little East Conference Men’s Lacrosse Championships Tuesday evening at Cressy Field.
The host Corsairs, who improve to 8-9 on the season, advance to face top-seeded Keene State in semifinal round action on Friday afternoon in Keene, N.H. beginning at 4:00 pm. The visiting Warriors conclude their season at 7-9 with the setback.
The two teams traded the lead three times in the opening 17-plus minutes of action before sophomore Tim Jordan (Sandwich, Mass.) scored a pair of goals in a 95-second span to stake UMass Dartmouth to a 5-3 lead midway through the second quarter. Junior Jacob Testa (Southington, Conn.) pulled Eastern Connecticut back to within one on the ensuing possession, but Wiencek’s first marker of the night with 2:17 remaining in the half gave the Corsairs a 6-4 advantage at the break.
Third quarter goals by Wiencek and freshman Kevin Swenson (Ipswich, Mass.) extended the hosts’ edge to 8-4 heading into the final frame, and after sophomore Jake Liebowitz (Trumbull, Conn.) tallied to pull the Warriors within three early in the fourth stanza, Rizzo’s goal with one second remaining on the shot clock that came with 6:16 to play provided the Corsairs with some insurance. Senior Matthew Rougeot’s (Cheshire, Conn.) man-up marker with 3:40 remaining accounted for Eastern Connecticut’s last goal and the final margin, as UMass Dartmouth posted its second victory over the visitors in a week and just its fourth in 28 series meetings between the two schools.
Jordan and Swenson each chipped in with a pair of goals for the Corsairs, who received a marker and two helpers from junior Donovan Prozinski (Ashland, Mass.) along with an assist off the stick of sophomore Ty Collins (Wakefield, Mass.). Testa finished with two goals and an assist in the setback for the Warriors, who also received tallies from junior Anthony Choronzy (Clinton, Conn.) and sophomore Kyle Cardoza (Waterford, Conn.) along with a pair of helpers off the stick of junior Wes Thompson (Watertown, Conn.).
Junior Ted McCaffery (Pepperell, Mass.) picked up the win in goal with a three-save effort for UMass Dartmouth, while junior Jack Farrell (Stratford, Conn.) made 21 stops in the setback for Eastern Connecticut. Corsair freshman Alexi Fauzey (Charlestown, R.I.) caused six of the 25 turnovers the Corsairs forced on the night, as the hosts outshot the Warriors by a 43-13 margin overall (30-9 on goal) for the contest.
Friday’s other semifinal round clash will pit second-seeded Plymouth State against sixth-seeded UMass Boston at 7:00 pm in Keene, N.H., and the two semifinal winners will meet for the 2019 Little East championship on Saturday afternoon at Keene State with an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III tournament going to the victor.
(Photo Credit: Jack Holleran)