March 15, 2011

MIT Fights off Husson, 11-9

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Despite an 8-1 run by Husson University that brought it within one goal early in the fourth quarter, the MIT men's lacrosse team held on for an 11-9 win on Tuesday afternoon. John Kucharczyk paced the Engineers (1-2) with four points on three goals and an assist while the Eagles (0-3) were led by Matt Sweeney's two goals and three assists.

An unassisted strike by Kucharczyk 51 seconds into the contest resulted in six straight goals in the first quarter and two more in the opening minute of the second stanza for MIT. At the 8:37 mark of the second quarter, Mitch Heaps connected on a pass from Dillon Shaw netting the first of four consecutive goals. Sweeney capped the scoring by slipping in a shot right before time expired, setting up an 8-4 score at halftime.

The Eagles continued to narrow the gap late in the third quarter. Chris Pelletier buried an unassisted effort with 5:29 on the clock while Tony Diaz converted a feed from Heaps over four minutes later. MIT ended the visitors' scoring run and its own 29-minute scoring drought courtesy of Alex Andrzejewski's strike with 17 seconds remaining in the quarter.

Husson responded with a pair of goals early in the fourth quarter, cutting its deficit to one (9-8). Sweeney earned the assists on Ben Landry's and Nick Brown's markers, the latter coming with 11:22 left to play. A minute later, the Engineers countered with Dan Piemont redirecting a pass from Will Waste, who then lit the lamp 35 seconds after the ensuing faceoff.

The game became a defensive battle down the stretch as MIT goalie Christopher Rullan collected four of his 16 saves during the last nine minutes. As for the Eagles, they remained within striking distance thanks to Chris Lloyd's team save when he denied Piemont a potential open-net goal while John Hooper was pulled out of position during a counterattack.

Husson continued to attack and eventually capitalized on an Engineers' turnover with 1:13 remaining when Alex Ryan found Heaps for what proved to be the final goal of the game. The Eagles won the following faceoff and called a timeout, but following the break MIT forced a turnover which led to a series of possession changes until the final horn sounded.

Andrzejewski registered the first hat-trick of his career while Britt Cyr posted one goal and two assists. Piemont scored twice as Nick Sisler earned a pair of assists. Justin Myers won 10 of his 13 faceoffs and scooped up a game-high nine groundballs while Elliot Sykora was 4-of-6 in faceoffs and had seven groundballs and two caused turnovers. Eric Zuk bolstered the defense with four groundballs and three caused turnovers.

Heaps finished with two goals and an assist as Shaw compiled five groundballs, a 5-of-8 faceoff record, one goal, and one assist. Diaz notched a goal and an assist while Mark Nardelli totaled four groundballs and three caused turnovers. Matt Tabler added four groundballs as Hooper racked up 13 saves.

Following its upcoming spring break, MIT will host UMass-Dartmouth on Tuesday, March 29. Husson returns to action on Thursday, March 17 in a home game against Curry College.