LEICESTER, Mass. --- The Becker College men's lacrosse team won 13-12 over visiting Mitchell College on Wednesday evening in the semifinals of the New England Collegiate Conference Championship Tournament at Alumni Field in Leicester.
The Hawks of Becker (3-12) advance to the NECC Championship finals against Dean College on Saturday while the Mariners of Mitchell (0-13) see their season come to a conclusion.
The Mariners jumped out in front with a quick goal out of the game from freshman attacker Jade Shields (Hempstead, N.Y. / Hempstead) just 1:51 into the game, assisted by freshman attacker Kevin Flores (Los Angeles, Calif. / Glendale).
1:23 later Becker scored the equalizer when senior defender Nicholas Mariano (Cranston, R.I. / Bishop Hendricken) found freshman attacker Matthew Guerin (E. Longmeadow, Mass. / E. Longmeadow) for the score. It would be the first of three Hawks goals, as senior attacker Avyay Chaganty (Bridgewater, N.J. / Bridgewater-Raritan) and sophomore midfielder Jack Schneider (Morrisville, Vt. / Peoples Academy) both found the back of the net as Becker went ahead 3-1 with 8:21 to go in the first.
From there, however, the Mariner offense exploded with five straight goals; two of those coming from Shields, two from freshman midfielder Jesse McKeever (Selden, N.Y. / Newfield) and one from junior midfielder Kyle Marsh (Oakdale, Conn. / Montville). Mitchell went ahead 6-3 with 12:44 to go in the first half.
Back came the Hawks. Chaganty, playing in the final home game of his career, scored just over a minute later, followed by a score at 10:55 by senior attacker Cruz Desrochers (Malden, Mass. / Malden). Schneider and Guerin finished off the scoring spree, as Becker surged ahead with a 7-6 advantage with 9:41 to go.
The Mariners rallied back before the break. Shields scored his 12th goal of the season with 3:56 to go to tie it up again, while McKeever closed out the first half with his third goal of the game and the 13th of his season, assisted by Flores. Mitchell led 8-7 going into halftime.
In the second half, Chaganty tied it again when he scored his third goal of the day and the 12th of the season with 12:43 to go in the third. Senior midfielder Blake Gordon (East Greenbush, N.Y. / LaSalle Institute) put the Hawks ahead with his tenth goal of the year with 9:32 remaining.
Mitchell knotted it at 9-9 when freshman midfielder Jack Dalton (Middletown, Del. / St. Georges) scored his seventh goal of the season, assisted by McKeever. Becker went ahead again off a goal from Schneider with 5:45 to go in the third, but the visitors closed out the quarter with another score from Dalton with 2:58 remaining. The two teams went into the final quarter tied at 10-10.
In the fourth, Mariano gave the Hawks the lead with 10:17 to go, assisted by senior defender Corey Bebeau (Burrillville, R.I. / Burrillville ). Looking for the insurance goal, Bebeau chose the best moment to score his first goal of the season with 7:31 remaining in the game, putting Becker ahead 12-10.
Mitchell refused to go down quietly. McKeever pulled the Mariners to within one on a goal with 3:21 to go. Then with 2:48 remaining, Flores' fourth goal tied it and the game appeared destined for overtime.
Finally, with 10 seconds left, Gordon took a long shot from ten yards out and found pay dirt for his 11th goal of the season, as the Becker bench exploded. A desperation shot by Mitchell with two ticks left went wide and the Hawks celebrated.
Becker sophomore goalkeeper Trey McMillen (Grapevine, Tex. / Grapevine) finished with 12 saves while Mitchell freshman goalie Marcel Quinlan (Uniondale, N.Y. / Uniondale) tallied 20 stops.
Quinlan and McKeever were both named to the NECC All-Tournament team.
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