Saturday Wrap: Vermont Breaks Through, Wins America East Title

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER


Vermont finally broke through. 

In the Catamounts’ third consecutive America East championship game appearance, Chris Feifs’ team claimed its first tournament title and the program’s first-ever NCAA tournament bid. 

The No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, Vermont (9-4, AE 7-2) used a balanced offensive attack and a dominant performance at the faceoff X to dispatch fourth-seeded Albany 15-10. The victory is Vermont’s third win this season and fifth straight against the Great Danes. 

Junior midfielder Thomas McConvey led the Catamounts with four goals and two assists and seven players had multi-point games. 

After a back-and-forth first half that included seven ties, Vermont took control with a six-goal run that started when McConvey drove through the middle of the Great Danes defense and scored on the run with 13.7 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Tommy Burke won the next faceoff to himself and scored five seconds later to give the Catamounts an 8-7 lead entering the break. He was the eighth Vermont player to score in the first half. 

Burke's prowess at the X was on display all morning. The sophomore from Palm Beach (Fla.), who entered the contest winning 71 percent of his draws and is nicknamed the “Iceman,” outdid his own average going 23-for-29 with 16 ground balls against Albany. He went 16-for-17 in the first half. 

Vermont continued the momentum in the second half and built a 12-7 lead midway through the third quarter. The Catamounts outshot the Great Danes 50-31 and surpassed 600 shots on the season. 

Albany’s Corey Yunker led all players with eight points on six goals and two assists. He took seven shots. Senior Will Ramos, who made his first career start in place of grad transfer Liam Donnelly, registered 16 saves.

Georgetown Wins Third Straight Big East Final

Kevin Warne breathed an extra sign of relief. Less than 30 seconds out of the time out he called  that voided a Dylan Hess goal in transition, the freshman from Ponte Vedra (Fl.) scored again off an assist from TJ Haley.  

This time it counted. “Don’t worry about it,” Warne said Hess told him in the huddle. “I got you.”  

Hess’s third goal of the game with four minutes remaining proved the difference in No. 10 Georgetown’s 10-9 win over No. 7 Denver that gave the Hoyas their third consecutive Big East Tournament Title. Georgetown topped the Pioneers in all three.  

“I am so happy for our senior and this team,” Warne, the three-time Big East Coach of the Year,  said on the CBS Sports Network Broadcast after the game. “Yeah you might talk about the three in a row, but this has got to be so separate.  

“We weren’t together this fall. We were doing everything through the computer. We weren’t on campus. We didn’t practice to the middle of January and the fact that we are standing where we are right now, I give an unbelievable amount of credit to our seniors and our team. The stuff we did off the field allowed us to grow on the field…I’m so proud of them.”  

Georgetown (12-2, 10-1 Big East) demonstrated that perseverance in the second half. After trailing 7-4, the Hoyas closed the game on a 6-2 run. Georgetown trailed 8-6 entering the fourth  quarter, but erased the deficit with three consecutive goals from Nicky Petkevich (2 goals, 1 assist), Declan McDermott (2 goals) and Hess.  

Ethan Walker answered with a rip of his own that snuck under the top crossbar and tied the game at 9 with 6:39 to play.  

Owen McElroy, however, made five of his 15 saves in the fourth quarter and played like the All American that he is. “He makes us all look like really good coaches,” Warne said of his senior goalie who entered the game with the highest save percentage in all of D-I. Several of McElroy’s stops in the second half came on Denver fast break opportunities.  

McElroy wasn’t forced to make a save in the final minute. His team won the race to the end line after an errant shot by Jack Hannah to regain possession and seal the win. 

After a regular season finale loss to Loyola put Georgetown’s at-large odds in jeopardy, the Hoyas no longer have to worry about hearing their name on Selection Sunday.  

A third consecutive NCAA Tournament awaits.  

Drexel Takes First CAA Crown Since 2014

Drexel continued to prove why it is one of the hottest teams in college lacrosse this afternoon by defeating Hofstra 15-11 in the Colonial Athletic Association championship game. Drexel’s ninth win in a row also secured the program’s first NCAA tournament berth since 2014. 

The last time Drexel claimed the CAA tournament title, Brian Voelker’s squad needed triple-overtime in 2014 to outlast Hofstra at Shuart Stadium in Hempstead (N.Y.). Today on the same field, Drexel had a much firmer grasp on the outcome by the time the final buzzer sounded. 

Reid Bowering, a senior attackman and the program’s all-time leading scorer, led the team with five goals. 

Drexel (10-2, 7-2 CAA), ranked No. 14 in the Nike / US Lacrosse Division I Men’s Top 20, raced out to a 7-1 lead in the first quarter, in which Bowering registered a hat trick. But in a testament to the team’s offensive depth, seven players scored in the first half, and Drexel built a daunting 10-1 lead. 

The team’s dominance in the first half and up-tempo attack was highlighted by a Brent McVicker goal after a point-blank stop from Ross Blumenthal (11 saves) triggered a transition opportunity. 

Hofstra’s Ryan Tierney set the CAA goals record in the first quarter with the type of incredible shot that’s become routine for the 16th overall selection in the Premier Lacrosse League college draft.  

The Pride clawed their way back in the second half with four two-goal runs and cut Drexel’s lead to 14-11 with 1:13 to play in the fourth. But Aidan Coll scored his third goal of the game with 25 seconds left to seal the win. 

Tierney (two goals, two assists) ends his collegiate career with 251 points. 







MAAC

Monmouth kept its second winning season in program history alive and captured its first MAAC tournament championship since 2017 with a 14-8 win over No. 1 seed Manhattan. The victory was also second-seeded Monmouth’s first MAAC tournament win against the Jaspers. 

The teams split the regular-season series. 

Cade Stratton had a game-high six points on three goals and three assists, and nine different players found the back of the net for the Hawks. 

Monmouth’s second-best scoring defense in Division I was buoyed by Noah Lode, who entered the game second in the country in goals against average (7.67). Lode made 10 saves and allowed nine goals, the seventh game this season in which the Hawks have given up less than double digits. 

The game opened up after the first quarter, at which point Monmouth trailed 2-1 with its only score coming off a transition pole goal from MAAC co-defensive player of the year Chris Hervada.  

Monmouth (8-2, 5-2 MAAC) scored six of the last seven goals in the first half to take a 7-4 lead entering the break. Stratton and Connor Macrae scored back-to-back within a minute of each other to start the second half, but Manhattan pulled to within three goals three separate times. The Hawks had the answer each time and put the game away with a three-goal run in the fourth quarter with tallies from David Cormack, Max Brooks and Mike McIntyre. 

Matt Soutar, who entered the game ranked fourth in Division I in faceoff winning percentage (71 percent), won 20 of 27 draws and helped Monmouth overcome 21 turnovers. 

NEC

Third-seeded Bryant took down top seed Saint Joseph’s and curbed the Hawks’ nine-game winning streak on the way to earning its first NEC championship since 2017. The victory on the Hawks’ home turf at Sweeney Field extended Bryant’s record to 6-0 all-time in NEC title games. 

The win also secured Mike Pressler’s 15th trip to the NCAA tournament. 

Luke Caracciola made 18 saves, and Jacob Alexander neutralized Zach Cole by winning 17 of 30 faceoffs. Alexander also tallied one goal and two assists. After missing the first eight games of 2021, junior attackman Marc O’Rourke came up big for the Bulldogs with four goals and one assist. All but one of O’Rourke’s goals came before the fourth quarter, which Bryant entered up 10-9. The game up to that point had six ties and neither team pulled ahead by more than two goals.  

With Bryant trailing 8-6 midway through the third quarter, O’Rourke scored consecutive goals, then Trevor Weingarten (three goals) scored with 2:22 to play in the third to give Bryant its first lead since two minutes into the second quarter. 

The Bulldogs put together a four-goal run from four different players to start the fourth quarter and put the game away. 

Conference Championship Game Scores

America East

Vermont 15, Albany 10 

CAA

No. 14 Drexel 15, Hofstra 11

MAAC

Monmouth 14, Manhattan 8 

NEC 

Bryant 16, Saint Joseph’s 10

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