It’s a title wave: Women’s, men’s lacrosse teams double their fun in conference championship games

By AJ Apel

SATURDAY was a day filled with excitement on Kingsley Field as the men’s lacrosse team won their third straight Middle Atlantic Conference Championship with a 14-9 victory over Stevenson University Mustangs. 

The women also won a title, but more on that later.

Here’s how the men’s game unfolded:

The men went down with a quick two-goal deficit, but that was quickly turned around when Jack Grayson got the Spartans on the board with 11 minutes remaining in the first quarter. After that the Spartans scored seven unanswered goals before the Mustangs were able to add another tally to the board. Grayson was able to net his third of the game before the halftime break to give the Spartans an 8-3 lead.

Will Harnick celebrates a goal with Ames Clark (Photo by AJ Apel)

The Mustangs came out swinging scoring 45 seconds into the third quarter, the two times exchanged blows back and forth throughout the third and fourth quarters.

Just as the Spartans thought they put the final dagger in with a Rhys McCarver goal with 4:52 remaining, the Mustangs were able to notch two more quick ones but would ultimately come up short. The Spartan men have won the MAC Championship all three years they have been members of the conference with this year’s Most Valuable Player award going to midfielder Ames Clark.

The Spartan men have won the MAC Championship all three years they have been members of the conference. (Photo by AJ Apel)

Top Spartan performances included Will Harnick (4 goals), Jack Grayson (3 goals), Jacob Willhelm (3 goals), Jack Keller (11 saves), Jayden Hull (3 ground balls, 1 caused turnover), Ethan Greene (5 ground balls, 3 caused turnovers), Ben Mayer (1 goal, 1 assist), JD Townsend (2 assists), Vinny Facciponti (14-25 faceoffs, 12 ground balls).

The women’s lacrosse team got a share of the excitement as well as they won their second straight conference title 10-7 over the Messiah University Falcons.

The game started off with a nice tap-in goal for the Spartans by sophomore attacker GG Huet, which was followed up quickly by a Falcons goal to notch it at one apiece.

The Spartans were able to score two before the end of the first quarter as well as net a third at the start of the second quarter. With those three goals the Spartans went up 4-1 with 12 minutes left in the half. The Falcons cut the deficit down to two before the Spartans went on another three-goal run to end the half up 7-2.

The women won their conference title for the second straight year. (Photo by AJ Apel)

Teresa Matthias would score the first goal of the second half with a Spartans woman up opportunity. The Falcons would enter the fourth quarter down 9-3 but were not done yet. They were able to go on a three-goal run of their own and cut the deficit to three. Just as they were able to gain momentum, Zoe Kluegel scored with two minutes remaining.

The Falcons were able to close the gap back to three goals with 1:20 left but it would not be enough. This year’s MVP would go to goalie Bella Garabo who averaged nine saves and four goals against during the playoffs. 

Top Spartan performances included Logan Ward (1 goal, 2 assists), GG Huet (2 goals), Sydney Mentzer (1 goal, 3 ground balls, 2 caused turnovers), Zoe Kluegel (5 goals), Bella Garabo (12 saves), Christina Vendelis (3 ground balls, 4 caused turnovers)

Both Spartan teams earned an automatic qualification to the NCAA tournament. The men learned Sunday night that they will head up to host school Tufts University, in the Greater Boston area, and will play Cabrini at 3 p.m. Saturday while Tufts will face the winner of Maine Maritime and Emmanuel. The winners of Saturday’s games will advance to Sunday with that game to be played at 3 p.m. at Bello Field.

Stay tuned for word on where the women are headed.

AJ Apel is a sophomore Sport Media Major and a member of the men’s lacrosse team.

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