NEWTON, Mass. – Sophomore goalie Nick Kandra (Crofton, Md.) made 13 saves Saturday afternoon to earn Most Valuable Player honors, leading second-seeded Norwich University past top-seeded Lasell College, 8-6, in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference men's lacrosse championship game at Grellier Field.
The Cadets (13-4) earned their second GNAC title and first since 2013, and will represent the conference at the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament beginning next week. Lasell had its program-record winning streak stopped at 15, finishing the season with a 16-2 record.
Norwich used an outstanding defense to record the victory, holding the Lasers to single-digit scoring for just the third time this season, surpassed by only Lasell's five-goal output in a loss at Roger Williams on March 6.
Freshman Alex Beauchemin (Westfield, Mass.) was impressive as well in the Lasell net, finishing with 14 saves.
Neither team was able to score for the first 11 minutes until senior Mike Susi (Gorham, Maine) broke the scoreless streak for the home team. Norwich answered right back just 18 seconds later on a goal by freshman Parker Campbell (Rockaway, N.J.) but freshman James Anderson (Medway, Mass.) put one in for Lasell with 46 seconds left in the first quarter to give the Lasers a 2-1 lead after one.
Defenses and goalies continued to rule play in the second quarter, as just two goals were scored. Senior Aidan Moulton (Danvers, Mass.) scored both goals for Norwich just a minute apart, the second one coming with 4:22 to play as the Cadets held a 3-2 lead at the break.
Norwich scored the only two goals in the third quarter, the first by sophomore Payden Masarachia (Enola, Pa.) with four minutes remaining and the second by Campbell with 49 seconds on the clock to put the Cadets up after three, 5-2. Lasell finally broke through, breaking a 32-minute scoring drought, early in the fourth quarter. The teams alternated goals in the final stanza, but Kandra came up big time after time for Norwich. Susi scored a man-up goal with 2:57 remaining and an even-up goal with 2:20 to play to pull Lasell to within two, but time ran out on the Lasers.
Susi led the Lasers with three goals, while senior Ryan Madden (Hingham, Mass.) and sophomore Andrew Fidalgo (Wilbraham, Mass.) added a goal and an assist. Senior defender David Sheehan (Tewksbury, Mass.) collected four ground balls and two caused turnovers. Susi, Madden and Sheehan were Lasell's representatives on the All-Tournament Team.
Campbell and Moulton had two goals apiece for Norwich. Senior Jake Giannelli (Norwich, Conn.) picked up a team-high four ground balls. Kandra was joined on the All-Tournament team by seniors Cody Moore (Canton, N.Y.), Jacob Center (Glens Falls, N.Y.), and Joseph Santangelo (Fallston, Md.) as well as junior attacker Jack Anzalone.
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