CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Seven unanswered goals in the first half gave the MIT men's lacrosse team a lead it would not relinquish as it went on to record a 12-4 victory over the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in a Pilgrim League game on Saturday afternoon. For the second game in a row, senior Ernie Park (Plainsboro, N.J.) tallied three goals and two assists for the Engineers. Junior John Hojnoski (West Springfield, Mass.) led the way for the Buccaneers with two goals.
Massachusetts Maritime senior Will Doucette (Manchester, Mass.) opened the scoring after five minutes expired but MIT responded with its game-changing run 25 seconds later courtesy of a solo effort by sophomore Ben Hessels (Laytonsville, Md.). Junior Sean Burke (Centennial, Colo.) found the back of the net while Park connected on a feed from freshman Jake Slonaker (West Windsor, N.J.) late in the frame. An unassisted tally by sophomore Elliot Sykora (Wilmette, Ill.) gave the hosts a 4-1 advantage at the end of the quarter.
The early stages of the second stanza were a defensive battle until Slonaker broke through on a pass by Sykora at the 8:30 mark followed by a quick tally from Hessels. Burke found Park for the last goal of the run while freshman Dylan Freudenberg (Islip, N.Y.) ended the Buccaneers' scoring drought with one minute left in the half and made the score 7-2 at the intermission.
MIT recorded the only goal of the third quarter with 5:10 on the clock. Syokra caused a turnover, picked up the groundball, and then went coast-to-coast for a man-down marker.
In the final frame, the Engineers generated three goals in a span of less than two minutes. Park buried a man-up tally and set-up scores for junior Gabe Blanchet (Hadley, Mass.) and freshman Bill Kelleher (Pittsburgh, Pa.) to increase the hosts' margin to 11-2. Hojnoski accounted for Massachusetts Maritime's final goals of the day as his two markers sandwiched a strike by Kelleher during the last three minutes of play.
Hessels won all four of his face-offs and picked up three groundballs as sophomore Joel Santisteban (Lawrence, N.Y.) earned two caused turnovers. Senior Bryan Beller (Dix Hills, N.Y.), junior Mike Gibson (Natick, Mass.), sophomore Tim Wilczynski (Old Lyme, Conn.), and freshman Quantum Wei (Springfield, Va.) bolstered the Engineers' defense with three groundballs apiece. In net, junior Christopher Rullan (Wexford, Pa.) amassed 17 saves and four groundballs.
Junior Jake Lennon (Bourne, Mass.) posted six groundballs and three caused turnovers as senior Peter Menard (Somerset, Mass.) notched five groundballs and two caused turnovers for the Buccaneers. Freshman Colin Hecklinger (Salem, Conn.) went 7-of-11 in face-offs while junior Jake Simpson chipped in four groundballs. In net, sophomore Paul Painten (Walpole, Mass.) recorded five saves and four groundballs in the first half while freshman Eric Kuehn (Norwell, Mass.) closed out the game with six saves and four groundballs.
The Cardinal and Gray had a slight edge in shots (37-33) but Massachusetts Maritime had the upper-hand in groundballs (42-28).
Both squads continue Pilgrim League play on Wednesday, April 25. MIT (6-6, 2-2 Pilgrim) will visit Wheaton College while Massachusetts Maritime (6-8, 0-4 Pilgrim) will travel to Regis College.