Williamstown, MA - The Ephs looked to be on the backfoot at the end of the third quarter after struggling to capitalize on a number of offensive opportunities, but a no-look goal from Jared Strauss was all that was needed to reignite the Williams offense, the bench, and the crowd and send the Ephs on a five-goal run to place them back in control of the game.
On a chilly Wednesday night in Western Mass., the Williamstown Ephs (4-0) defeated the RPI Engineers (4-2) 13-11 in their last home match of the year.
On a day filled with emotions as the seniors took to Farley-Lamb Field for the final time, both teams came out ready to score. Senior Johnny Hincks got the party started early as he shoveled the ball over RPI's goalie to open the scoring for the Ephs. Harry Gahagan made a stop at point-blank to keep the Engineers scoreless, but RPI's Conor Schnapp was able to level the score halfway through the first quarter.
Conor Glosner got the lead for RPI when we came around the net and scored from close range. In a man-up situation, Jake Haase faked out the goalie and put away a pass from John Hincks to get one back for the home side. Senior Kevin Stump scored his first of the game moments later off an assist from Michael Greenberg to regain the lead. The landslide of goals continued as Jason Bram slid two into the Williams net and Connor Glosner added another as the buzzer sounded. The first quarter ended 5-3 RPI.
Harry Gahagan started the quarter off with another great save. The scoring was started as Cory Lund came around the net and jumped before smashing the ball into the back of the net. After a lull in scoring, RPI broke the second quarter deadlock off a goal from Will Hatcher and another shortly after from Matt Boldt. Cory Lund put away a pass from Jake Haase to stop RPI's short run. The first half ended with strong defense and good stops by both goalkeepers to keep the score at RPI 7, Williams 5.
After a quiet beginning to the third quarter, Nicholas Colucci scored for RPI. Both teams continued their strong defensive performances until Cory Lund was able to complete his hat-trick with 8:28 remaining in the third. Owen Putman responded shortly after with a goal for RPI.
Needing players to bring them back into the game, the Ephs found their pair when John Hincks passed to a cutting Jared Strauss; the Williams middie did not even need to look at the goal as he blindly passed the ball over his shoulder right into the net. Kevin Stump and the Williams offense stormed right back down the field after the faceoff to get another goal for the Ephs. Excitement could be heard from both the Williams bench and the crowd as a revitalized Williams team brought a newfound energy to the field. The Ephs defense held RPI on one more possession to keep the score at RPI 9, Williams 8.
Kevin Stump picked up right where he left off as he scored a minute into the fourth quarter to even up the game. In his first game of the season, senior and reigning first-team All American Brendan Hoffman fired home a rocket from nearly 20 yards out to open up his season scoring tally; the team erupted as the Ephs went back on top for the first time since the first quarter. As the energy from the bench boiled over, the Williams offense continually pounded the RPI defense and Cory Lund slotted another one past the RPI goalie. The goals just kept coming for the attackman, who, again, proved too much to handle and put in his second straight goal for a total of five on the night.
On the defensive end, Harry Gahagan left the cage to intercept a pass RPI tried to sneak behind the net. Ryan Cole was able to halt Williams' scoring run with just over five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter by scoring for RPI. As the final minutes came off the clock, Senior Rock Stewart made his presence known with a great block on a dangerous RPI shot. Owen Putman put one in the Williams net with under a minute remaining to bring the game close, but it was not enough as Senior Noah McCoy put in a final goal on an empty net to secure the game. The Ephs made sure to save their best for the end and the game finished Ephs 13, RPI 11.
Williams used two goalkeepers with Harry Gahagan recording 11 saves for a .524 save percentage; Will Bock also saw time in net. RPI utilized just one goalie with Brian Doughty stopping 14 shots en route to a .519 save percentage.
Cory Lund led the way for Williams with a game-high five goals while Kevin Stump followed close behind with three goals for his third hat trick. Jake Haase dished out four assists and Johnny Hincks added three more for the Ephs.
"We talked about reacting to adversity in that we faced it in the first half. We just didn't play our best game...there were a lot of emotions in this game because they knew it was their last home game. I was really proud of them at half time I thought we all regained our composure and started to get our focus back. I think adversity, if you use it in the right way, definitely makes you better and I think it made us better today," said Eph head coach George McCormack following the game. Commenting about what this last home game meant for the team and especially the seniors, he said, "I thought the seniors did an excellent job. They were always great motivators, but I kinda had a feeling the game was over as soon as [Brendan] Hoffman scored. He hadn't played all year, he got a chance to get up on the man up and he scored that goal and I think that was the crescendo to the season...We're all just so happy to have a few more days together. We're saddened by the end of our season being so abrupt, but we're not going to let that affect us and we want to really enjoy each other's company on this road trip."
The Ephs men's lacrosse team will see their last action of the season against NESCAC opponent Bowdoin at 11:00 a.m on Saturday.