Engineers Edge Out Emmanuel, 8-7

Sophomore Graham Francis
Sophomore Graham Francis

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In the first meeting between both programs, the MIT men's lacrosse team emerged with an 8-7 victory over Emmanuel College on Wednesday night. Sophomore Graham Francis (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) paced the Engineers (1-0) with two goals and an assist while the Saints (0-2) saw junior Ryan Sabuda (Indianapolis, Ind.), freshman Tommy Dion (Westwood, Mass.), and sophomore Chris Curtis (Ashland, Mass.) each score two goals.

Emmanuel controlled the action for most of the first quarter, but it was MIT that got on the board first when Francis redirected a feed from sophomore Chris McPherson (Gaithersburg, Md.) with 4:32 on the clock. The Saints responded with a man-up goal by Curtis exactly 2:12 later to even the frame.

The deadlock would remain until the 11:04 mark of the second stanza as Sabuda put the visitors ahead, 2-1, after being set up by junior Jake Jaskolski (St. Clair Shores, Mich.). The defensive battle resumed but the Engineers ended the stalemate with 5:25 left as junior Chris Cook (Tully, N.Y.) connected on a quick pass by freshman Harris Stolzenberg (Weston, Fla.) to even the score. MIT regained the lead just over two minutes later following another Francis marker that earned freshman Michael Traub (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) an assist.

The third frame was a back-and-forth affair as it featured four ties and two lead changes. A solo effort from Curtis made the score 3-3 after 3:49 expired while a man-up strike by freshman Tony Cibelli (Westboro, Mass.) gave the Saints a slim edge. A defensive miscue by the visitors generated a man-up own goal that knotted the game and following the ensuing faceoff, senior Britt Cyr (Cincinnati, Ohio) found Stolzenberg for the go-ahead goal, moving the score to 5-4 at the 9:26 mark.

The Sabuda-Jaskolski connection returned three minutes later but that was matched by Cook's goal that was initiated by Francis. Dion provided the final tie of the quarter courtesy of an unassisted blast with 2:13 to go. Sophomore Paul Orrson (Baltimore, Md.) responded with his own unassisted marker to give MIT a 7-6 lead heading into the final frame.

Orrson picked up right from where he left off as he found the back of the net after 36 seconds elapsed in the fourth quarter. The first-half defensive battle returned, helping the Cardinal and Gray maintain its small cushion for a majority of the period. Following a series of shots late in the game, Emmanuel found success as Dion buried a pass from freshman Donnie Litzelman (Exeter, N.H.) with 2:50 left to play. Cibelli attempted to even the score 13 seconds later but his shot was off the mark. MIT held the ball for a span of 1:35 before a turnover gave the Saints what proved to be their final chance of the night. However, Cook collected a groundball on a failed clear with 24 seconds remaining to help secure the victory.

Cyr won 7-of-10 faceoffs for the Engineers while Cook generated a pair of caused turnovers. Stolzenberg notched four groundballs as freshman Matthew Kalinowski (Toms River, N.J.) registered three groundballs and two caused turnovers. Sophomore Luke Verdi (Middletown, Md.) led the way with six groundballs while McPherson added four of his own. In net, sophomore Eric Bartell (San Diego, Calif.) amassed 15 saves.

Junior Jake Pickett (Stratham, N.H.) was 7-of-12 in faceoffs and collected a game-high eight groundballs. Sophomores Michael Rogers (New Haven, Conn.) and Justin Kelly (Collegeville, Pa.) both posted three groundballs while freshman Chris Baglivi (Mattituck, N.Y.) added two caused turnovers. Junior Austin Lauzier (Bedford, N.H.) totaled 18 saves and three groundballs.

Next up for MIT will be a home game against Drew University on Tuesday, March 11 while Emmanuel continues its road trip on Sunday, March 9 versus Kean University in Myrtle Beach, S.C.