Golden Bears Hold on Late to Secure 14-12 Win over Nazareth

Junior John Shahpazian recorded three goals and one assist in Western New England's 14-12 win over Nazareth in Tampa, Florida on Friday night. (Photo by Rachael Margossian)
Junior John Shahpazian recorded three goals and one assist in Western New England's 14-12 win over Nazareth in Tampa, Florida on Friday night. (Photo by Rachael Margossian)

Golden Flyers unable to overcome 14-7 fourth quarter deficit

TAMPA, Fla. (March 15, 2019) – The Western New England University men's lacrosse team built a seven-goal lead and withstood a fourth quarter rally by Nazareth College to secure a 14-12 victory on Friday night at the Naimoli Complex on the campus of the University of Tampa.

Top Performers
Western New England utilized a balanced offensive attack with nine different players recording a goal. Sophomore midfielder Matt Greer (South Windsor, Conn.) led the way for the Golden Bears with three goals and two assists, while junior midfielder John Shahpazian (New Providence, N.J.) added three goals and one assist.

Senior Hunter Cocks (Walden, N.Y.) picked up a game-high ten ground balls, and junior goalie Sean McCusker (Northport, N.Y.) made a career-high 17 saves.

Nazareth freshman attackman Matthew Vanliew (Auburn, N.Y.) generated a team-high five points for the Golden Flyers with two goals and three assists.

Senior Anthony Basile (Cortland, N.Y.) and junior Drew McNerney (Tully, N.Y.) both turned in four-point performances, while junior Kevin Hussey (Longmeadow, Mass.) scored three goals.

Junior Tim Vinton (Mount Vernon, N.H.) won 17-of-29 faceoffs, and freshman goalie Eric Almquist (Wakfefield, Mass.) stopped 17 shots.

Game Review
After Vanliew opened the scoring with an unassisted goal 2:45 into the contest, the Golden Bears tied it up at the 8:58 mark when sophomore Jared Newall (Stratford, Conn.) found Shahpazian.

The score was still tied late in the frame, before a flurry of Western New England goals put the Golden Bears ahead 5-1. Senior Tim Breau (Lima, N.Y.) buried an unassisted goal with 4:20 left in the opening frame, and Greer found the back of the net 50 seconds later. Junior Nick Gamba (East Islip, N.Y.) and Greer scored at 2:06 and 0:51, respectively, as WNE took a four-goal lead into the second period.

The Golden Bears continued to roll early in the second quarter courtesy of senior Joe Holleran (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Shahpazian, who both scored to extend Western New England's lead to 7-1.

The Golden Flyers ended the period with a 4-2 spurt, however, to close the gap to four (9-5) at the break.

Nazareth got as close as three (10-7) after Hussey scored on a feed from McNerney at the 12:38 mark of the frame, but Western New England closed out the quarter with three unanswered goals to extend the advantage back to six (13-7) heading into the fourth.

Shahpazian scored Western New England's final goal at 13:02 of the fourth quarter, giving the Golden Bears a comfortable 14-7 cushion.

Nazareth was able to cut into its deficit with five unanswered goals over the next ten minutes, including three from Basile, but the Golden Bears held on down the stretch to secure the win.

Notes
• Nazareth outshot Western New England 54-47 and held a 17-13 faceoff advantage.
• The Golden Bears were a near-perfect 26-for-27 on clear attempts, and they went 2-for-5 on man-up opportunities.

Up Next
Western New England (3-2) will play its second game in Tampa next Thursday, March 21 against St. Lawrence University at 6 p.m. Nazareth (2-4) travels to Hamilton next Wednesday.