NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- Junior Riley Baxter (Groton, Mass./Groton-Dunstable) snapped a 5-all tie with 5:47 remaining in regulation and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth defense held off a late charge to earn a 6-5 victory over intra-state rival University of Massachusetts Boston this evening in the first round of the 2014 Little East Men's Lacrosse Championship tournament at Cressy Field.
The Corsairs (13-4) advance to the semifinal round at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 2, when UMass Dartmouth travels to second-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University. The Beacons complete their season with an overall record of 8-10.
The visitors scored three unanswered goals between the third and fourth quarters to forge at 5-all tie with just under eight minutes left on the clock. Junior Donny Delpha (Walpole, Mass.) sent freshman Nick Tangherlini (Cohasset, Mass.) in behind the Corsair defense for the game-tying goal.
Riding the momentum, Tangherlini nearly gave the visitors their first lead of the contest at the 6:37 mark, but senior goalie Nick Thayer (Chelmsford, Mass.) was able to stop the attempt and spark the transition into the attacking zone.
Following a timeout, UMass Dartmouth began to work its cycle behind the net and found Baxter along the near post. The junior unleashed his 24th marker of the season into the back of the net for the game-winner.
Baxter paced the Corsairs offensive attack with two goals and an assist for three points. Seniors Jordan MacPherson (Westwood, Mass.) and Adam Niden (Walpole, Mass.) each scored two markers. Classmate Todd Davis (Sandwich, Mass.) collected a game-high six ground balls, while sophomore Dan Brown (Beverly, Mass.) was 5-for-8 at the X.
Junior John Powers (Marshfield, Mass.) tallied two goals, while Delpha handed out a pair of helpers to lead the Beacons. Senior Dom Fichera (Scituate, Mass./Boston College HS), sophomore Noah Ellis (Hingham, Mass.) and Tangherlini each penned a goal into their ledgers. Sophomore Phil Troung (Quincy, Mass.) won half of his restarts (6-for-12), while classmate Michael Durocher (Marion, Mass./Old Rochester) caused four turnovers.
Thayer stopped nine UMass Boston attempts to earn his 13th win of the season, while sophomore Craig Frehil (Norwell, Mass.) reached double digits in saves with 11.
UMass Dartmouth held the advantage in shots (32-24) and ground balls (35-25), while commiting two less turnovers than the Beacons (20-22). The Corsairs were able to convert two of their six man-up opportunites, while hosts held the visitors scoreless on their seven extra-man chances.
UMass Dartmouth tied the program's single season record for wins with 13, matching the standard set by the 2011 squad.