MANCHESTER, N.H. (LE MOYNE ATHLETICS) –
Championship Most Valuable Player Jake Nelson (Charlotte, N.C./Vestal (N.Y.)/Binghamton/Mercer/Syracuse) scored four goals to lead the top-ranked and second-seeded Le Moyne College men’s lacrosse team to its 15th Northeast-10 Conference Championship with a 9-4 victory over ninth-ranked and top-seeded Saint Anselm College on Saturday afternoon at Grappone Stadium.
The Dolphins (12-0), who have won four of the last five conference championships, improve to 15-4 all-time in the conference title game. The Dolphins now await their seeding in the NCAA Championships. The 10-team field will be announced on NCAA.com on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. In the third release of the regional rankings on Wednesday, the Dolphins were ranked third in the North Region.
In addition to Nelson, senior midfielder Ben McCreary (Cicero, N.Y./Christian Brothers Academy (Syracuse) and senior defenseman Nate Arnold (Macedon, N.Y./Palmyra-Macedon/Richmond) earned spots on the all-championship team. Additionally, junior defenseman Henry Miller (Ithaca, N.Y./Ithaca) was named the recipient for the second straight year of the Elite 24 Award, which is awarded to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average competing at the final site for each of the NE10’s 24 Championships. A Dolphin has now won all three of the awards as then-sophomore Evan Kelly (Honeoye Falls, N.Y./Aquinas Institute) was the inaugural recipient in 2019.
Saint Anselm, which has played in two of the last three NE10 title games, got the scoring started midway through the first quarter as Jack Andrews scored at the 8:19 mark off a feed from Noah Larsen.
The Dolphins evened the score at one apiece with 5:27 remaining as McCreary finished off a pass from junior attackman Kevin Sheehan (Camillus, N.Y./West Genesee) for his 18th goal of the year.
The Hawks scored the first two goals of the second quarter for their biggest lead of the game. Matt Ward netted his 41st goal of the season with 11:11 remaining after taking a pass from Will Harvey. Griffin Shoemaker doubled the lead with 7:59 left with his 24th goal of the year.
After killing off a 6-on-4 situation, the Dolphins responded with the final three goals of the half to take the lead. After coming from behind the net on the left side, Nelson scored from just off the edge of the crease for his 19th goal of the campaign. Out of a timeout following a save by redshirt junior goalkeeper Frank Delia (Baldwinsville, N.Y./C.W. Baker/Onondaga C.C.), McCreary registered his 19th goal of the year with 22 seconds to go after taking a feed from Kelly. Nelson closed out the scoring in the half and gave the Dolphins the lead with a back-handed shot from the edge of the crease with eight seconds left off a restart of a missed shot.
Le Moyne, specifically Nelson, scored the only two goals of the third quarter to take a 6-3 lead. Nelson tallied his 21st goal of the year with 10:43 remaining after working around his defender and scoring from five yards out on the left side of the cage. Just 31 seconds later, he found the back of the net after collecting a dish in front of the net from Sheehan on the right goal-line extended.
Saint Anselm snapped its scoreless drought of 25 minutes and 33 seconds with the first goal of the fourth quarter as Larsen tallied his 16th goal of the season.
Le Moyne, which allowed four or fewer goals in the title game for the seventh time in their 15 victories, finished off the game’s scoring with the final three goals. McCreary completed his hat trick at the 6:25 mark as he was being pushed to the ground after leaping to collect a pass from senior attackman Devin Andrews (Canandaigua. N.Y./Canandaigua Academy/Stony Brook). Just 14 seconds later, Andrews scored from five yards out on the right side after taking a pass from the left from Nelson. Sheehan completed the game’s scoring with 4:55 left with a quick-stick shot off a pass from Kelly following a penalty kill by the Dolphins.
Delia finished the contest with eight saves, including four in the second quarter, to improve to 6-0 on the season between the pipes. CJ Hart, the NE10 Goalkeeper of the Year, registered a season-high 21 saves, including six in each of the first three quarters, in suffering his first loss of the season.