NEW LONDON, Conn.—Senior John Lyons (Barrington, R.I.) collected his 100th collegiate point as second seeded Connecticut College advanced to the semifinal round of the NESCAC Championship for the second consecutive year, holding off a talented Hamilton College squad in an 8-6 triumph in front of 400 fans on the Artificial Turf at Silfen Field Saturday.
The Camels, who are ranked 15th in the latest USILA National Poll, improve their record to 12-3 with their fourth consecutive victory. They will meet Tufts University, the #3 seed, in a NESCAC Semifinal Match Up next Saturday in Middlebury, Vermont.
Hamilton College (9-6) had its five-game winning streak snapped but proved that they are a team to watch in the future after playing some terrific ball in the final month of the regular season.
Andrew Freedman (Sudbury, Mass.) had two goals and an assist in the victory for the Camels. Lyons registered a goal and an assist in the triumph. He has accounted for 60 goals and 41 assists for a career total of 101 points. Junior midfielder JR Hartgers (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) chipped in with a goal and an assist.
Senior Brendan Schrader (Annapolis, Md.) won 14-of-18 face-offs while adding four ground balls for the Camels. Bobby Bleistein (Oyster Bay, N.Y.), the reigning NESCAC Player of the Week, finished with 15 saves in the win.
Hamilton College received two goals each from Pax Anthos (Wellesley, Mass.), Bryan Hopper (Ridgewood, N.J.) and Connor Morgan (Reisterstown, Md.).
Dylan Lahey (Hyannis, Mass.) corralled five ground balls. Sophomore net-minder Will Driscoll (Riverside, Conn.) was impressive between the pipes, finishing with 18 saves in the contest.
Freedman opened the scoring 1:28 into regulation with a wraparound move and the Camel enjoyed a 1-0 advantage. But the visitors responded with the next two goals. Hopper scored the equalizer with 10:15 remaining. Then, with 5:15 to play, John Zimmerman (Syracuse, N.Y.) made a nice feed from behind the cage to Connor Morgan, who found the back of the net and the Continentals had a 2-1 lead after one.
But the Camel offense responded in the second with a three goal flurry occurring in a span of 2:15 to put the hosts in control. After the two sides exchanged goals, Lyons assisted Freedman for a goal at the 5:28 mark. Just 20 seconds later, Freedman returned the favor, connecting with Lyons for another Camel marker. With 3:13 remaining, Tyler Corcoran (Simsbury, Conn.) made a nice connection with Hartgers and the Camel lead was 5-3.
But Morgan collected an important ground ball of a rebounded shot for the visitors and put one back to make it a 5-4 game at the intermission.
Bleistein had five saves in the third while Driscoll recorded four. Hamilton accounted for the only goal with 59 seconds left. Luke Walsh (Loudonville, N.Y.) made the connection from behind the cage and Anthos unloaded for the equalizer from the right side of the box.
However, the Camels regained a 6-5 edge just 39 seconds into the fourth. Briggs Barton (Rye, N.Y.) netted his 14th of the season with a blast from the center of the box. Then with, 9:59 remaining, senior Stephen Eicher (Northport, N.Y.) was able to beat his defender and carom a shot of the turf for a goal to make it a 7-5 contest.
Anthos got one back for the Continentals with 6:17 left but sophomore Chad Sawyer (Northfield, Ill.) pushed the Camel lead back to 8-6 when he finished with a turnaround shot from the left side with 3:54 remaining for his 30th goal of the season.
Hamilton was awarded an extra man opportunity with 54.6 seconds left. But Bleistein stepped up. Morgan's shot was stopped and then Bleistein denied Hopper from point-blank range with his 15th stop of the day.
The Camels were able to hold on for the 8-6 triumph.
The Connecticut College close defensive unit consisting of seniors Brogan O'Connor (Haverhill, Mass.), Mike Brennan (Chester Springs, Pa.) and Kieran Morris (Ridgewood, N.J.) stepped up once again, limiting the Continentals to scores in the second half.
The Camels out-shot Hamilton 42-to-34 and held a 29-to-17 edge in ground balls.