The men’s lacrosse team secured the fourth and final seed in the Pilgrim League postseason tournament on Saturday with a solid 10-7 victory over visiting Clark University. With the win, the Engineers closed out the regular season with a record of eight wins and six losses, and they secured a playoff spot for the second consecutive year.
Before the game, a short ceremony was held honoring the seniors: captains Corey Garvey ’10 and Garth S. Grove ’10, William J. Gibson ’10, Thomas W. Hay ’10, and Kevin M. Farino ’10. Also recognized was sophomore Carl J. Tilbury ’12, who will be returning to England following the end of this academic year. The team wished these gentlemen well on their future endeavors and congratulated them on a stellar season.
The game began well for the Engineers as midfielder John R. Kucharczyk ’11 drew first blood, dodging through the teeth of the Clark defense for an unassisted goal three minutes into the first quarter. Unfortunately, Clark answered fifteen seconds later on a fast break goal by attackman Chris Adams. Clark continued to control the ball throughout the quarter and tacked on a man-up goal with 4:22 to play to make the score 2-1 in favor of the Cougars at the close of the quarter.
The second quarter was dominated by the Engineers. The defense held the potent Clark offense to just four shots, three of which were stopped by freshman standout goaltender Christopher B. Rullan ’13. The Engineers made up the deficit with a fast break goal off the first face-off as attackman Gabriel V. Blanchet ’13 assisted Garvey. Hay scored unassisted at the twelve minute mark, and Tilbury added two of his own, one unassisted and one from midfielder Nicholas D. Sisler ’11. Cougars midfielder Chris Johnson scored unassisted for Clark’s lone goal of the quarter and was quickly answered by attackman Daniel G. Piemont ’10 to bring the score to 6-3 in favor of the Engineers going into halftime.
The third quarter began where the second left off as Tilbury and Piemont each scored again, both assisted by Kucharczyk. Clark midfielder Shawn Roche added one for the Cougars before Tilbury and Piemont each found the back of the net again — Tilbury unassisted and Piemont off a fast break assist from defender Alex W. Andrzejewski ’11. The Cougars scored once more with 34 seconds remaining in the quarter to cut Tech’s lead to 10-5.
The fourth quarter saw a lot of ball control by the Engineers as they tried to run Clark out of time. The Cougars made a comeback attempt, getting two more goals in the quarter, but MIT kept the game under control and possessed the ball most of the quarter. Gibson ended his year with a bang, leveling a Clark midfielder on a botched clearing attempt by the Cougars and drawing cheers from the MIT sideline.
After the win, MIT improved to 8-6 overall, while the Cougars dropped to 6-8 on the year. Next Wednesday, MIT will travel to top-seeded Springfield College for their first playoff game. The Engineers will look to upset Springfield, which would put them in the finals of the Pilgrim League tournament, facing the winner of the game between Wheaton College and Babson College. The winner of that game will automatically qualify for the NCAA Division III national tournament.