Men's lacrosse seniors get their win over Williams, 11-8

Senior Charlie Hildebrand (11) and teammates walk off the field in satisfaction after defeating Williams 11-8 on March 26, 2016. (Connor Cahill/Bates College) 

LEWISTON, Maine -- The senior class of the No. 6 nationally ranked Bates men's lacrosse team had defeated every other team in the New England Small College Athletic Conference at some point in the past four seasons, save for one: Williams. The Bobcats took care of that with their third consecutive victory, an 11-8 win over the visiting Ephs at Garcelon Field.

Williams (3-3, 2-2 NESCAC) held Bates' (7-1, 3-1 NESCAC) All-America scoring duo of senior Jack Allard (Ridgewood, N.J.) and junior Charlie Fay (Falmouth, Maine) to one goal apiece, leaving more opportunity for their teammates. Junior Andrew Melvin (Medfield, Mass.) scored two goals on a season-high nine shots and added an assist. Sophomore Clarke Jones (Pepper Pike, Ohio) also contributed two goals and an assist and junior Kyle Weber (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) scored twice. Allard was held to one goal on 13 shots but dished out a pair of assists. The 6-foot-4 Fay, frequently matched up against 6-6 Riley Hoffman, scored once on eight shots.

Sam Francis faced off against four different Williams players and won the majority against all four, finishing 16 for 25 with a game-high six ground balls in the first game this season he has taken every faceoff for the Bobcats.

Michael Fahey and Thomas Fowler scored two goals apiece for Williams. Tanner MacIvor had three assists and Peter Crane added two assists.

Miles McCarthy had 16 saves in net for Williams, while senior Joe Faria (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.) stopped 11 shots for Bates.

Williams led 1-0 after a fast-paced first quarter in which neither team could find the back of the net until 16 seconds remained and Fowler scored on a Crane assist. McCarthy had six saves in the opening period.

The Ephs took a 2-0 lead early in the second quarter as Fahey scored unassisted. But Jones scored on an Allard assist to get Bates on the board 67 seconds later, beginning a 4-1 Bates run to finish the half.

Melvin tied the game with an unassisted tally at 10:41. Williams ended an 11-minute drought as Fowler scored from MacIvor. But sophomore Burke Smith (Wilton, Conn.) finished off a Bates fast break with an assist from senior Matt Proto (Chatham, N.J.), and with 23 seconds left in the half Weber got on the board on a Melvin assist for a 4-3 lead.

Weber scored to open the second half on a pass from junior Jake Walsh (Baltimore, Md.), giving Bates its first two-goal lead at 5-3. With 10:18 Williams' Bryson Gilbert-Bono scored, and the Ephs tied the game and seized momentum with Fahey's goal 39 seconds later.

The Bobcats responded by playing their best lacrosse of the game over the remainder of the third quarter, scoring four unanswered goals in the final 4:10 of the period for a commanding 9-5 lead. Jones scored unassisted with 4:10 to go, and a minute later, Bates converted a Faria save into the game's most spectacular goal. Breschi passed high to a leaping Fay, who caught the ball, twisted and scored his 22nd goal of the season with an overhand redirection before landing.

Junior Wes Shrewsbury (Boxford, Mass.) scored on an assist by senior Charlie Hildebrand (Berwyn, Pa.) with 2:09 left in the period, and Allard made it 9-5 on a Jones assist with eight seconds left.

But Williams quickly cut two goals from the lead in the opening 72 seconds of the fourth quarter. Hoffman scored on a MacIvor assist at the 14:01 mark, and Khary Dennis scored just 13 seconds later to make it 9-7.

With 12:16 left, Melvin snuck around the net and buried a wrap-around shot for perhaps the biggest goal of the game, giving Bates a 10-7 lead. The Bobcats held Williams to one goal over the final 13 minutes, when Conor Roddy scored the game's only extra-man goal with 5:51 to go.

Williams called a final timeout with 52.8 seconds left in the game. The Ephs turned the ball over out of the timeout, leading to a frantic fight for the ball at midfield. With 28 seconds left, Allard came up with the ball and flipped it behind his head toward senior defensive midfielder Ken O'Friel (Scarsdale, N.Y.), who made a leaping catch before throwing the ball in from 20 yards out, giving Bates its final 11-8 lead.

Bates next plays at Hamilton on Saturday, April 2 at 1pm.