CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In the first meeting between the two programs the MIT men's lacrosse team outscored Lyndon 9-2 in the first quarter en route to a 20-8 victory Saturday.
"MIT was the best team we played this year," said Head Coach Richard Aberle. "They are very well coached, have a few very talented attack men and move within their offense better than any of our other opponents. I felt we played well overall."
Michael Traub amassed a game-high nine points on two goals and seven assists for the Engineers while Adam Peeler (Worcester, Mass.) paced the Hornets (1-12) with two goals and two assists.
Traub was a factor in three of MIT's first four goals as he earned assists on strikes by Luke Verdi and Henry Merrow before finding the back of the net at the 10:45 mark. Harris Stolzenberg, who set up Traub for the goal, also had an unassisted marker during the opening run.
Billy Bazyk (Manchester, Vt.) ended the shutout for Lyndon but the Engineers responded with two goals from Stolzenberg and another by Traub, increasing the advantage to 7-1 with 5:51 left in the first quarter. Like their previous goal, the Hornets generated a transition marker courtesy of a blast by Dominic DiTommaso (Ashby, Mass.). MIT then closed the frame with goals by Britt Cyr and Paul Orrson to take a commanding 9-2 lead.
The Cardinal and Gray produced three goals during the first 2:23 that was later matched by Lyndon. Traub set up Chris McPherson and Joseph Sullivan while Henry Aspegren redirected a feed from classmate Dominic Hansford.
In the Hornets' three-goal spurt, freshman Justin Mosher (Salem, N.H.) earned assists on strikes by junior Richard Aberle, Jr. (Essex, N.Y.) and Bazyk that sandwiched a marker by Robert Crupi (Scituate, Mass.). MIT ended its nine-minute scoring drought when Sullivan converted a feed from Aspegren, increasing the margin to 13-5, with 3:30 remaining before halftime.
"We've gotten more balanced scoring as the season has progressed," said Aberle. "Last year we relied almost exclusively on Tim Patten to score or create opportunities for someone else. We already have six players in double figures for points."
The host's generated three goals during the first half of the third quarter as two came from Stolzenberg, including a man-down blast, while Jonah Hessels connected on a feed from Traub. After being held scoreless for most of the period, Lyndon broke through at the 3:40 mark courtesy of Aberle as Peeler followed with a solo effort just over two minutes later. With time winding down, Merrow found Verdi for the score with 22 ticks left, upping the lead to 17-7.
MIT carried the momentum in the final frame as William Dominas set up freshman Cody Jacobucci after 2:41 elapsed. A defensive battle ensued until the Stolzenberg-Traub connection returned at the 5:23 mark. Exactly a minute later, Merrow tacked on an unassisted marker to wrap up the scoring for the Engineers. The Hornets' lone goal of the quarter was a man-up strike by Peeler with 2:43 remaining in regulation.
Stolzenberg finished with six goals and two assists while Merrow posted two goals, two assists, eight groundballs, and two caused turnovers. Orrson and Aspegren both notched one goal and one assist as Traub and Dominas added five groundballs apiece. Cyr won 13 of his 14 face-offs and collected 10 groundballs while Jacobucci was 9-of-11 in face-offs and scooped up five groundballs.
Max Malinowski rounded out the face-off corps with a 4-of-6 performance and three groundballs. In net, Eric Bartell made five saves in the first three quarters as Sidhanth Rao turned away three shots during the final 15 minutes.
Bazyk recorded two goals, one assist, and three groundballs while DiTommaso had one goal and one assist for the visitors. Jonathan Kimball (St. Johnsbury, Vt.) led the way with five groundballs, followed by four from Mosher and three from Colin Young (South Royalton, Vt.). In the first half, freshman Marcus Bessette (Pembroke, N.H.) tallied nine saves while classmate Shane Morin (Salem, N.H.) closed out the game with 14 saves and three groundballs.
"The biggest difference between MIT and us was unquestionably ground balls," said Aberle. "MIT had very sound fundamentals - they always blocked out and sealed off our players and they understood team concepts on ground balls and that had a huge impact. When they can get 59 ground balls and only give up 25, you're in a big hole offensively. They get more possessions and more opportunities to score. That's something we will have to work on for our remaining two games and for next year."