Big first half propels No. 14 men's lacrosse to 18-9 win over Babson

Junior Eli Cooper won 18 of 22 faceoffs and recorded a career-high 11 ground balls in the Bates men's lacrosse team's 18-9 win over Babson on Feb. 28, 2018. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Senior captain Clarke Jones matched his career high with five goals to go with two assists, and the No. 14 nationally ranked Bates men's lacrosse team defeated Babson 18-9 in the Bobcats' home opener Wednesday night at Garcelon Field.  

After Bates (1-1) fell behind 1-0 early in the contest, Jones (Pepper Pike, Ohio) scored the first of his five goals to even the score. Then he put the Bobcats ahead for good with 11:43 remaining in the opening quarter of action. His two goals started a 9-0 run for the Bobcats that saw them take a 9-1 lead with 9:05 left in the second quarter.  

The Beavers (1-1) never got to within closer than six goals for the remainder of the game. 

Junior Eli Cooper (Glastonbury, Conn.) had a monster game for the Bobcats. He won 18-of-22 faceoffs and tallied a career-high 11 ground balls. Cooper also dished out an assist to sophomore Brendan Mullally (Baltimore, Md.) to put Bates up 9-1. 

Bates won the ground ball battle 41-22 and won 23 of 30 faceoffs on the evening.

Sophomore Matt Chlastawa (Westfield, Mass.) tallied a hat trick with three goals. Mullally and senior Max Breschi (Carlisle, Pa.) added two goals each for the Bobcats. Senior captain Burke Smith (Wilton, Conn.) scored a goal and added two assists.

Niall Dillon paced Babson with a pair of goals and Austin Fabel added a goal and two assists.

Sophomore Rob Strain (Montclair, N.J.) tallied seven saves in the cage for Bates and Christopher Aranalde made nine saves of his own for Babson. The Bobcats outshot the Beavers 54-37. 

Rocco Fantoni (Hauppage, N.Y.) caused three turnovers and recorded four ground balls, while his fellow junior defender Stephen Bull (Baltimore, Md.) totaled six ground balls and an assist.

The Bobcats led 11-3 at halftime after junior Matt Kelleher (Newburyport, Mass.) scored with four seconds remaining in the second quarter.

The Beavers outscored the Bobcats 3-1 in the third quarter to trim the lead to 12-6. Bates led 13-7 with 12:36 left in the game after Axel Brown scored for the Beavers on an assist from Ethan Carpenter. But the Bobcats went on a 5-0 run to seal the win. 

One of the more impressive goals during the run came from first-year defender Will Haskell (Norwalk, Conn.) when he scored a long stick goal to put Bates up 17-7 with 6:24 left in regulation, the first goal of his collegiate career. Sophomore defensive midfielder R.J. Sarka (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) also netted his first college goal.

Bates is back in action Saturday when the Bobcats visit NESCAC foe Middlebury. The match gets underway at 1:00 p.m.