May 15, 2010

* Courtesy of Middlebury Athletics

The Middlebury men's lacrosse team advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament after a 16-8 victory over Rensselaer at East Campus Stadium on Saturday afternoon. David Hild has a huge game at attack for Middlebury, scoring five goals, while assisting on another. With the win, the Panthers (13-5) improve to 31-10 all-time in NCAA play and will travel to Tufts on Wednesday for an NCAA quarterfinal match-up. The Engineers making their third NCAA appearance, end their season at 14-3. The Panthers won an earlier match-up against Rensselaer at East Campus Stadium 9-6 on April 20th.

Middlebury opened up the first quarter firing, holding an early 7-3 advantage in shots, before Russell Banker notched his first goal of the season at 8:33 off a feed from Bart Witmer. Less than two minutes later, Hild slid a five-hole shot past Engineer goalie James Manchester for a 2-0 lead with 6:45 left. Rensselaer got on the board as Andrew Miller collected a pass from Nick Billy for a lefty tally, netting the ball in the top corner at 5:38. Hild answered with a southpaw dodge to the middle of the field at 4:30, before Billy responded with a goal at 3:00, cutting the Panther advantage to 3-2 after the first quarter.

The Panthers opened the second quarter with a 3-0 run on unassisted goals by Chris Teves and Pete Smith, as Hild's third score capped the spurt at 9:00 for a 6-2 lead. The Engineers responded quickly to Hild's goal, winning the ensuing faceoff as Andrew Liptak scored 11 seconds later, cutting the deficit to 6-3. Hild bookended the Liptak tally, with a dodge from behind the X, adding a hi-low fake on Manchester for his fourth score at 7:51. Andrew Conner added another for Middlebury at 6:42 before Paul DiLandro scored exactly one minute later on a transition goal, setting the score at 8-4 in favor of the Panthers. In the final minutes, Middlebury set up a methodical attack, eventually freeing Tim Cahill as he snuck in from the left goal line extended with 22 seconds left for the score, taking a 9-4 advantage into the break.

Both team exchanged goals to open the third before another 3-0 Panther spurt gave Middlebury a 13-5 lead. A rifle shot from Erich Pfeffer started the run at 10:58, as Hild notched his fifth goal off a Banker assist. Matt Virtue ended the run with a five-hole shot on Manchester at 8:30. Eric Valero ended the run at 4:18, collecting a groundball off a save by Panther goalie Ryan Deane for a point blank tally, setting the score at 13-6. Banker added his second goal of the season with 1:10 remaining off a feed by Conner for a 14-6 lead after three quarters.

A pair of Cahill goals, including a man-up tally, capped the Panther scoring in the fourth as Rensselaer's Billy added the final goal of the game.

Hild led all scorers with five goals and one assist, as he has accounted for 13 goals in his last three games, 20 of his team-high 39 in the last five games. Cahill added a hat trick, while Conner added a pair of goals and two assists, as Alex Englert had a game-high six ground balls for Middlebury. Deane earned the win in net for the Panthers, stopping 11 shots, as reserve Charles Ward played the final 3:34 and added a save. Billy led Rensselaer with two goals and an assist, while six others added goals for the Engineers. Manchester suffered the loss for Rensselaer, making 13 saves on the afternoon, allowing 16 goals.