SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Western New England University men's lacrosse team advanced to its ninth-straight Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Championship game after defeating fourth-seeded Curry College 25-14 on Tuesday afternoon in a semifinal round at Golden Bear Stadium.
Senior attackman Jared Ward (Littleton, Mass.) was outstanding for the Golden Bears leading the way with a 10-point performance (5 G, 5 A). Junior midfielder John Shahpazian (New Providence, N.J.) added seven points (5 G, 2 A) and freshman attackman Mike Bannon (Edmond, Okla.) put in four goals and a helper. Senior faceoff specialist Hunter Cocks (Walden, N.Y.) finished 20-28 on faceoffs, had 15 groundballs, two goals, and two assists. Three other players had three points for the Golden Bears.
Junior goalkeeper Sean McCusker (Northport, N.Y.) finished with nine saves in the cage.
Curry College was led by the trio Kyle Ton (4 G), Harrison Fallon (2 G, 3 A), and Devin Newell (3 G). Junior midfielder Andrew DeLeary also chipped in four points (1 G, 3 A).
Curry College opened up the game with Fallon finding Newell cutting down the middle for the goal, taking the first lead at 1-0.
On the ensuing faceoff, Cocks secured the ball and took it to the cage himself, tying the game at 1 apiece. From there, Western New England rattled off five unanswered goals to push their lead to 6-1. At 4:42, the visitors would convert off a turnover as Ton scored off a MJ Urbano assist to make the score 6-2. Before the period ended, Bannon would dance his way to the cage and score to add to the Golden Bear lead, 7-2.
In the beginning of the second quarter, Ward would facilitated back-to-back goals to Bannon and junior midfielder Oskar Djusberg (Abington, Mass.) to push the lead to 9-2. After a Ton goal, the Golden Bears received goals from Ward, Bannon, and Shahpazian pushing the lead up to 12-3.
Just under the 3-minute mark, Fallon would convert on a pair of man-up opportunities making it 12-5. A possession later, Cocks found Djusberg for his second goal of the game giving the Golden Bears a 13-5 lead. Curry would end the half with goals from sophomore attackman Matthew Scahill and DeLeary to cut the difference to 13-7.
In the third quarter, Shahpazian and Ward would help separate the Golden Bears from the Colonels as they scored or assisted on every goal in the period. Curry would score three times, but the lead would balloon to 20-10 for the No.1 seeded Golden Bears.
In the final frame, Western New England was able to extend their lead up to 24-11 after another set of unanswered goals. Curry would pump in three goals in the last seven minutes, but the game was out of reach. At 6:01, sophomore midfielder Conor Tracy (Walpole, Mass.) capped off the scoring for the Golden Bears solidifying a berth in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) championship game.
• 25 goals scored was a season-high for the Golden Bears' offense.
• Ward's 10-point performance is his second of the season.
Western New England (13-5, 8-0 CCC) will look to defend their crown on Friday night at Golden Bear Stadium against No. 2 seeded Endicott College (11-7, 7-1 CCC). This will be the ninth-straight trip to the conference championship game and the seventh consecutive matchup with the Gulls.