Middlebury tips men's lacrosse 11-10 in NESCAC quarterfinal

Jack Allard posted three goals, three assists and seven ground balls in Bates' 11-10 loss at Middlebury in the NESCAC quarterfinals on April 30, 2016. (File photo by Josh Kuckens/Bates College) 

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- Kyle Soroka scored one of his game-high five goals with 13.9 seconds remaining, lifting Middlebury to an 11-10 win over Bates (11-4) Saturday in a NESCAC quarterfinal game on Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium. 

The Panthers (11-5) advance to next Saturday's semifinal round at Tufts with their opponent to be determined. Middlebury entered the game as the fourth seed and ranked ninth nationally, while the Bobcats were seeded fifth and held the 10th spot in the national rankings.

With the game tied at 3-3 in the second quarter, Middlebury went on a 3-0 run, taking a 6-3 advantage late in the half. Jon Broome opened the spurt with a nice bounce shot from close range with 1:50 left on the clock. Soroka followed with a 15-yard shot on the left side to make it a 5-3 game with exactly 1:00 remaining. Sean Carroll found Cedrick Rhodes, who buried a shot with just 10 seconds left in the half to put his team up 6-3 at the intermission. John Jackson won three straight faceoffs during the run.

Bates battled back in the second half, with a goal from senior Jack Allard (Ridgewood, N.J.) and a man-up tally from junior Charlie Fay (Falmouth, Maine) to make it a one-goal game (6-5) at the 11:40 mark of the third quarter. 

Soroka answered at 9:54 before Bates responded with three more goals, giving them five of the quarter's first six tallies. Sophomore Clark Jones (Pepper Pike, Ohio) cut hard down the middle and converted a pass from Allard for the first goal, before sophomore Burke Smith (Wilton, Conn.) took advantage of a turnover and tied the game at 7-7 with 6:22 remaining in the third quarter. 

Allard scored the third goal of the run, putting the Bobcats up for the first time since holding a 2-1 advantage. But Carroll ended the run for Middlebury, scoring with an open look after a pass from Broome with 3.1 seconds left in the third quarter.

Middlebury was first to score in the fourth quarter (7:35), as Broome scored on a rebound after the initial shot by Soroka had been saved.

Bates answered less than a minute later when junior Kyle Weber (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) tallied on a long bounce shot from 15 yards out. Just 13 seconds later, Jones broke in after the faceoff, finding Allard for a quick goal to put the Bobcats on top 10-9 with 6:43 left to play.

The Bobcats were taking time off the clock with 3:36 remaining, but Eric Rogers caused a turnover to give the Panthers the ball back. One minute later, Soroka tied the game with a rocket from the left side with 1:10 remaining.

Jackson won the ensuing faceoff with Middlebury working the offense before calling a timeout with 23 seconds remaining. Soroka rose to the occasion again, driving toward the goal from the right side before ripping a shot into the back of the net with 13.9 seconds left on the clock.

Bates had one last chance after winning the faceoff, but Fay's shot from 10 yards out on the left side went just wide.

Will Ernst had a big game in goal for the Panthers with 17 saves, including eight during a first quarter when the Bobcats were getting several open looks. Soroka's five goals were aided by two tallies and three assists for Broome. Carroll finished with two goals and an assist, while Jackson won 14-24 faceoffs with six ground balls. 

Fay scored four goals and Allard had three goals and three assists for for Bates. Junior Fred Ulbrick (Fairfield, Conn.) finished with three caused turnovers and Allard earned seven ground balls, while senior goalkeeper Joe Faria (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.) made 13 saves.

Bates, still tied for its most wins in a season with the teams from 1984 (11-1), 1985 (11-2), 1986 (11-3) and 2015 (11-6), will hope to receive a second straight at-large bid in the NCAA Division III Championship tournament. The NCAA DIII Men's Lacrosse Selection Show will air Sunday, May 8th at 9:00 pm ET on NCAA.com.