Men's lacrosse tops Colby 12-11 to finish regular season 11-3

Sam Francis's crucial faceoff win in the final minute preserved Bates' 12-11 victory over Colby on April 27, 2016. (File photo by Josh Kuckens/Bates College) 

WATERVILLE, Maine -- Senior Jack Allard scored four goals and junior Charlie Fay added three to help the No. 10 nationally ranked Bates men's lacrosse team hold on for a 12-11 win over Colby in the Flahive-McDuffee-Sandler Memorial Game on Wednesday at Harold Alfond Stadium.

Bates finishes the regular season 11-3 overall, 7-3 in NESCAC play. Bates' 11 victories tie the program record last accomplished a year ago. The Bobcats' 11 regular-season wins are the most for the program since 1986.

Already locked into the fifth seed in the eight-team NESCAC Championship tournament before the game began, Bates will play at fourth-seeded Middlebury on Saturday in the conference quarterfinals. The Panthers defeated the Bobcats 15-12 in their previous meeting April 9 at Middlebury -- the last time Bates lost before its current three-game winning streak.

Bates established a 12-7 lead over the host Mules on back-to-back goals in the fourth quarter. First-year Eli Cooper (Glastonbury, Conn.) scored unassisted with 11:28 remaining after winning the face-off and scoring just seven seconds after a Colby goal. Sophomore Clarke Jones (Pepper Pike, Ohio) tallied from junior Andrew Melvin (Medfield, Mass.) with 9:55 to go for the five-goal lead.

The Mules battled back with four straight goals and some good goalkeeping from Dylan Rothenberg. Colton Michel scored, off an assist from Alex Rutan, just 31 seconds after the Jones goal to cut the margin to 12-8. Michel got his second goal with 7:26 when he turned and fired a shot after taking a pass from Jack Bratches.

Colby's Austin Sayre created a buzz around Harold Alfond Stadium when his blistering shot with 2:55 remaining cut the margin to 12-10. The Mules made it a one-goal game with 27 seconds left when Yuta Murata ripped a high shot after a feed from Rutan.

Bates junior Sam Francis (Newburyport, Mass.) won the final, crucial faceoff, with junior Charlie Gravina (Fair Haven, N.J.) getting the ground ball, and the Bobcats quickly got the ball up the field and were able to run out the clock.

The Mules (3-12 overall, 0-10 NESCAC) led 2-1 after playing a fine opening quarter. Sayre and Murata had unassisted goals, while Rothenberg made four saves. Allard (Ridgewood, N.J.) scored from junior Wes Shrewsbury (Boxford, Mass.) for the Bobcat goal.

The Bobcats took control with five straight goals in the second quarter. After junior Kyle Weber (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) scored unassisted, Allard got his second goal with 8:50 remaining from Melvin. Fay and junior Jake Walsh (Baltimore, Md.) had unassisted goals less than a minute apart and Allard scored his third goal with 1:54 remaining from Walsh.

The Mules broke the scoring streak on a goal by Kevin Seiler with 38 seconds left, but Bates made it 7-3 at the half on a Gravina score from sophomore Burke Smith (Wilton, Conn.) with only 14 seconds to go.

Bates went up 8-3 on Fay's (Falmouth, Maine) goal from sophomore Max Breschi (Carlisle, Pa.) with 12:25 remaining in the third quarter. Murata scored from Rutan with 7:30 to play and Sam Wasserman had a run and blast with 5:00 to play to cut the lead to 8-5. Fay scored the final goal of the third quarter for a 9-5 lead.

Allard scored on the man-up with 14:40 to play in the final quarter for a 10-5 Bobcat margin. The Mules received a second goal from Wasserman on a deflected shot with 13:11 remaining and Rutan scored his lone goal of the game from Murata to make it 10-7. 

First-year goalie Mitchell Drake (Annapolis, Md.) stopped seven shots for the Bobcats, while Rothenberg made 14 saves in his final Colby game. 

Gravina had the goal, scooped five ground balls, and had one caused turnover for Bates. Francis was 13-for-21 in face-offs and had four ground balls. Smith added three ground balls and one caused turnover.