JOHNSON, Vt. – Five Eagles scored multiple goals as the Green Mountain College men's lacrosse team earned its first North Atlantic Conference (NAC) victory by edging past Johnson State College 15-13 on Wednesday afternoon.
"It was a very good, hard-fought win," said head coach Paul Reif. "The game went down to the wire and the main difference I witnessed was our communication and intensity on defense. Offensively, we played great team ball and moved the ball efficiently making the extra pass which had eluded us to this point. Unselfish play dominated throughout the game and with Chelsea's terrific play between the pipes, this win helped build momentum for Friday's game against Maine Maritime."
The Eagles improved to 1-6 (1-3 NAC) while the Badgers dropped to 0-5 (0-2 NAC) on the season.
After five scoreless minutes to start the game, the Badgers opened the scoring at the ten minute mark on a goal by Travis Benson. Ethan Wehse made it 2-0 on a goal assisted by Kyle Picard.
Green Mountain responded with three-unanswered goals to take the lead as Chris Surdam (Plymouth, Mass.), Jay Levesque (Marlborough, Mass.) and Dominic Wright (Queens, N.Y.) each scored their first of the game.
Johnson's Picard netted his second to tie the game at 3-3 with a minute and a half left in the quarter, but Surdam scored his second of the game with just 14 seconds remaining to give Green Mountain a 4-3 lead after one quarter.
A pair of Brandon Bellissimo (Chicago, Ill.) goals and a single strike from Will Durant (Plymouth, Mass.) pushed the Eagles' lead to 7-3 midway through the second. Picard got one back with two minutes left in the half, but GMC's Deven Rogers (Oxford, Maine) answered less than a minute later to give Green Mountain a comfortable 8-4 lead going into the break.
The Eagles' lead turned out to not be as comfortable as they would have liked as the Badgers took the lead back in the third quarter, rallying off five-straight goals to take a 9-8 lead. The Eagles answered back with two minutes remaining to tie the game back up at 9-9 heading into the final stanza.
Within the first six minutes of the fourth, Johnson had added three more goals including two from Benson against one from GMC's Durant to take a 12-10 lead. Despite trailing late in the game, the Eagles played inspired lacrosse through the final minutes outscoring Johnson 5-1 including the game's last three goals to clinch the 15-13 victory. Wright iced the game in the final minute of play with his second and third goals of the game.
Durant was the leading point-getter for the Eagles with four goals and an assist. Bellissimo and Wright each notched a hat trick with Bellissimo tying Rogers for the lead in groundballs with seven. Rogers tacked on three points with a pair of goals and an assist. Finnian Arnold-Swanstrom (Washburn, Wis.) led the defense with four caused turnovers.
Chelsea Wimble (Colchester, Vt.) earned her first win of the season in goal for Green Mountain with a season-high 19 saves.
Green Mountain will host Maine Maritime Academy at Castleton in a NAC game on Friday, April 13 at 11:30 a.m.