NEWTON, Mass. – Senior Eric Russo (West Grove, Pa.) scored just over a minute into overtime Wednesday afternoon as sixth-seeded Johnson & Wales University upset second-seeded and defending champion Lasell College, 11-10, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's lacrosse semifinal at Grellier Field.
The Lasers forced overtime when junior Ryan Madden (Hingham, Mass.) tied the score at 10-10 with his game-high fifth goal of the game on a man-up situation with 21 seconds remaining in regulation play. JWU came back with the game-winner to avenge a 13-5 setback to Lasell during the regular season.
The Wildcats (8-11), who upset third-seeded Mount Ida College 14-8 in the quarterfinals, advance to the GNAC Championship game Saturday at top-seeded Norwich University. The Cadets (13-5) knocked off fourth-seeded Saint Joseph's College (Maine) in the other semifinal Tuesday, 17-8. Lasell, which had a six-game winning streak snapped, completes its season with a 9-7 record.
The Wildcats jumped out to a four-goal advantage in the first stanza. Lasell would punch back with four of the next five goals, including two from Madden and one from both senior Austin Tomasetti (Elmsford, N.Y.) and freshman Andrew Fidalgo (Wilbraham, Mass.), to cut the deficit to 5-4 after one quarter.
Lasell battled back to tie the game at 6-6 midway through the second quarter on a goal by junior Austin Shindoll (Denver, Colo,), but Johnson & Wales would take a 7-6 advantage into the break.
After the visitors scored the first two goals of the third quarter to extend the lead, the Lasers rattled off three straight goals to close out the quarter at 9-9. Senior Alex McCormack-Kuhman (Wells, Maine) and junior James Torosian (Lynn, Mass.) each scored their lone goal of the afternoon, while Madden netted the equalizer.
Junior Thomas Lyons (Burlington, Mass.) put the Wildcats in the lead midway through the fourth quarter before Madden scored his fifth of the afternoon to send the game to overtime.
Russo, who had four assists leading up to overtime, broke past the Lasers defense and netted the game-winner, lifting the Wildcats to their first GNAC Championship appearance in program history.
Sophomore Ryan Janovic (East Lyme, Conn.) made 11 saves for the Lasers, include six in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Ben Werner (Boxford, Mass.) dominated the faceoff-x, winning 18-of-25 and finishing the season with program record 167 faceoff wins in a season
Sophomore Bradley Morris (Bayport, N.Y.) had a strong game in the JWU net, making 15 saves.
(By Brian McLoughlin, Athletic Communications student assistant)
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