WATERVILLE, Maine -- The Bates men's lacrosse team exploded for 15 goals in the first half on its way to a 20-15 victory at Colby Wednesday afternoon.
With the win, the Bobcats (8-7, 4-6 NESCAC) advance to the NESCAC tournament for the fourth consecutive season. The loss eliminates the Mules (6-7, 3-7 NESCAC) from playoff contention. Bates will travel to Wesleyan for the quarterfinals, to be played Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
Senior captain Clarke Jones (Pepper Pike, Ohio) scored four goals to pace the Bobcats and sophomore Matt Chlastawa (Westfield, Mass.) added three goals and a game-high six assists. Sophomore Brendan Mullally (Baltimore, Md.) and first-year Jack Scribner (Falmouth, Maine) both tallied a hat trick for Bates, with Mullally adding three assists.
On defense, junior Rocco Fantoni (Hauppage, N.Y.) continued his breakout season with a game-high five caused turnovers. Junior Mitchell Drake (Annapolis, Md.) made 15 saves in the cage for the Bobcats.
After the two teams traded goals to start the game, Bates took the lead for good on when Scribner found the back of the net on an assist from Mullally with 10:30 remaining in the first quarter. That started a 3-0 run for the Bobcats before Colby's Tucker Dietrick scored on an assist from C.J. Hassan with 5:24 remaining. Less than a minute later, senior Max Breschi (Carlisle, Pa.) put Bates up 5-2 helped out by another Mullally assist. Hassan scored with 2:10 left in the opening quarter of action before Jones scored with just 18 seconds remaining to give Bates a 6-3 lead.
The Bobcats broke the game open in the second quarter thanks to nine goals, five of them off assists from Chlastawa.
Mullally and Jones took turns scoring to begin the quarter, each scoring a pair to put the Bobcats up 10-3 with 10:11 left in the half.
Hassan put a stop to the Bates run with 8:09 remaining but less than a minute later sophomore Curtis Knapton (Westbrook, Maine) found the back of the net to extend the lead to 11-4. Junior Andrew Small (Deerfield, Ill.) continued the scoring barrage just 35 seconds after Knapton's goal. Then Chlastawa found Mullally with 6:23 to go in the half to make the score 13-4. The Bobcats added two more goals to and took a 15-5 lead into the intermission.
Knapton and Scribner scored to begin the third quarter, giving Bates its biggest lead of the game at 17-5. But Colby turned things around after that. A pair of Mules goals made the score 17-7 before Fantoni scored unassisted with 4:53 left in the quarter.
After Fantoni's goal, Colby went on a 5-0 run to end the third, trimming the Bates lead to 18-12.
The fourth quarter proved to be the lowest scoring quarter of the game, with the teams combining for just five goals. Senior Parker Strong (Wenham, Mass.) tallied a goal with 10:26 left in regulation to push the lead back to seven. The teams traded a pair of goals after that and Colby netted the final two goals of the contest, falling short by five scores.
Dietrick and Hassan paced the Mules with four goals each.
The Bobcats won the turnover battle 17-24 and outshot the Mules 51-43. First-year Chris Costello (Ridgefield, Conn.) won 11 faceoffs and recorded a game-high seven ground balls.
This marks the fourth straight year the Bobcats have defeated the Mules in men's lacrosse.