KINGS POINT, NY – Junior attackman Eric Caldwell (East Moriches, NY) and senior midfielder Robert Swensen (Danbury, CT) each netted four goals but it wasn't enough as the Western Connecticut State University men's lax squad was edged at non-conference foe Merchant Marine (USMMA), 14-12, on a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon at Brooks Stadium. The hosts jumped out to a 5-0 lead before the Colonials rally began. They would tie the count at 10-10 in the final quarter before the comeback fell short.
WestConn junior middie Ryan Reuling (Groton, CT) chipped in with a goal and three assists, while rookie attackman Donald Schaumloffel (Wantagh, NY) added two scoring strikes. Sophomore netminder Perry Cassidy (East Setauket, NY) dropped to 3-2 overall and recorded 13 saves, while sophomore defender Billy Youngblood (Warwick Valley, NY) continued his stellar play, racking up eight ground balls while forcing a game-high four turnovers.
Seniors Michael Rodriguez (Coronado, Calif.) and Jack Renard (San Clemente, Calif.) and junior Liam Connors (Bellmore, N.Y.) all had a game-high five points apiece to lead the Mariners in the win. Rodriguez tallied four goals and dished out one assist, Renard had a goal and a game-best four helpers, while Connors scored twice and recorded two assists.
The Mariners scored five goals in the first five minutes of the game and led 6-1 at the end of the first quarter. WestConn went on to outscore USMMA, 3-2, in the second quarter thanks in part to a trio of Mariner penalties and the hosts went into the halftime break with an 8-4 lead.
After Merchant Marine scored two of the first three goals in the third to take a 10-5 advantage, the Colonials took over complete momentum, as they strung together five-straight tallies, including two man-up at the end of the quarter and then the game-tying goal early in the fourth when junior midfielder Timothy Yannucci (Coram, NY) scored to make it at 10-10 at 13:34.
The Mariners finally answered by scoring three of the next four to take a 13-11 lead with just 3:01 to play. Caldwell retaliated when he ripped a highlight reel worth one-handed shot into the twine at 2:01 to make it a one-goal game again.
But the Mariners needed some insurance and it came from the stick of Rodriguez with just 28 seconds left, which sealed the two-goal victory.
"The boys played tough after a rough first quarter. We battled back and had our chances. We just couldn't pull away," stated WestConn head coach Ryan Cavanagh following the contest. "I think culturally we took a step forward. In terms of X's and O's, we will watch film and get better," he added.
With the loss, the Colonials dropped to 3-2 overall while USMM improved to 3-0. WestConn returns to action on the road at Wesley on Wednesday at 4 p.m.