NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men's lacrosse team sent its eight seniors off in dramatic fashion, rallying from a 7-1 deficit to defeat Western Connecticut State University 12-9 this afternoon in a Little East Conference match at Cressy Field.
The Corsairs (10-4) moved into a third place tie with Western Connecticut (6-8) and Plymouth State (8-3) in the conference standings with a 3-2 mark, but hold the tiebreaker over the Colonials and Panthers by virtue of head-to-head victories.
UMass Dartmouth honored its most successful senior class in program history prior to the start of their final regular-season game at Cressy Field. The Corsairs senior class is comprised of Jared Wright (Gloucester, Mass.), Nick Thayer (Chelmsford, Mass.), Steve Tarpey (Shrewsbury, Mass.), Justin Lawless (Quincy, Mass.), Todd Davis (Sandwich, Mass.), Dan Dawley (Revere, Mass.), Jordan MacPherson (Westwood, Mass.), and Adam Niden (Walpole, Mass.)
Junior Riley Baxter (Groton, Mass.) was the offensive catalyst for UMass Dartmouth, registering four assists and a goal for five points. Sophomore Tyler Chasnov (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth North) and Niden each turned in a balanced scoring effort with two markers and two helpers. Sophomore Bo Prozinski (Ashland, Mass.) and MacPherson each tallied a hat trick as the hosts outshot their guests by a 39-28 margin.
The Corsairs defensive unit limited Western Connecticut to just a single marker in each of the final three quarters to provide the offense with an opportunity to overcome the early deficit. Davis and Tarpey shared the team-high in ground balls with five, while Wright scooped up four and caused three turnovers. Sophomore Dan Brown (Beverly, Mass.) went 6-for-12 from the X, while classmate Zach Drolette (Burlington, Vt.) won six of his 13 restarts.
Sophomore Jake Pantani (Branford, Conn.) led Western Connecticut with five points, including three assists. Senior Nate Wilson (Norwich, Conn.) produced four goals, while sophomore John Foristall (Danbury, Conn.) added a pair. Junior Zach Bartlett (East Lyme, Conn.) collected a game-high eight ground balls and forced a team-high two caused turnovers.
UMass Dartmouth cracked the scoring column just one minute, 31 seconds into regulation, when MacPherson converted a man-up opportunity following a feed from junior Dennis Healy (Hanover, Mass.). The Colonials closed the first quarter with a six-goal outburst to deflate the hometown crowd. Foristall and senior Wilson keyed the surge with two markers each.
The visitors continued to ride their momentum into the second stanza, as Wilson completed his personal hat trick off an assist from Bartlett just over a minute into the frame. Davis was able to stem the tide at the 3:18 mark, cashing in off an assist from Chasnov. Chasnov played an integral role in UMass Dartmouth's two scores, recording a marker and handing out a helper as the Corsairs entered the intermission trailing 7-4.
In a low-scoring third quarter, UMass Dartmouth was able to whittle its deficit to one, when Prozinski and Chasnov finished feeds from Baxter. Wilson capitalized on an extra-man opportunity to temporarily stop the hosts' momentum and push the visitors lead to 8-6.
The Colonials opened the fourth quarter with an even-strength goal, but the Corsairs' closed strong with six unanswered goals to complete the comeback. MacPherson sandwiched a pair of goals betwenn Niden's 19th goal of the season to even the contest at 9-all. Prozinski delivered the decisive score at the 7:16 mark before adding an insurance marker with under four minutes remaining on the clock. Baxter sealed the conference victory with his 17th tally of the season to provide the hosts' with a proper send off for the Class of 2014.
In between the pipes, Thayer made six stops to earn the victory, while junior Chris Alexander (Swansey, N.H.) turned aside 13 Corsair attempts.
UMass Dartmouth will return to action on April 22, when the Corsairs travel to Salem State University for a Little East Conference match.