No. 12 men's lacrosse rolls to 17-9 win over Hamilton

Matt Chlastawa's four goals and four assists helped the No. 11 Bates men's lacrosse team defeat Hamilton 17-9 on March 30, 2019. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Juniors Matt Chlastawa and Rob Strain led the No. 12 nationally ranked Bates men's lacrosse team to a 17-9 win over Hamilton Saturday afternoon at Garcelon Field.

Chlastawa (Westfield, Mass.) scored a game-high four goals and dished out a game-high four assists to pace the Bates offense, passing Shane Kokoruda '95 to claim Bates' career assists record in the process. Meanwhile, Strain (Montclair, N.J.) tallied a career-high 22 saves on 31 shots on the cage, recording a save percentage of 71%. 

Bates (7-2, 4-1 NESCAC) never trailed Saturday against Hamilton (3-4, 1-4 NESCAC), despite the Continentals holding a number of statistical advantages. Hamilton out-shot Bates 57-50, won the ground ball battle 41-28 and won 21-29 faceoffs. But the Bobcats' explosive offense did not waste many opportunities and the defense denied the Continentals at almost every turn. 

With the score tied at three, Chlastawa found fellow junior captain Curtis Knapton (Westbrook, Maine) for the go-ahead tally with 7:21 remaining in the first quarter. Knapton's man-up goal gave the Bobcats the lead for good. He finished with three goals and one assist. Senior Matt Kelleher (Newburyport, Mass.) added to the Bates lead with an unassisted tally before Hamilton's Henry Hunt scored with just nine seconds left in the first quarter, cutting the Bobcat lead to 5-4 at the end of the first 15 minutes of action. 

Hunt scored three goals in the first quarter but was held scoreless for the remainder of the game by the Bobcats. 

Bates scored the first three goals of the low-scoring second quarter, with Knapton, Kelleher and Chlastawa finding the back of the net. With 23 seconds left in the half, Hamilton's Ben Gardner scored the Continentals' lone goal of the quarter, trimming the Bobcat lead to 8-5 at halftime.

Chlastawa and junior Brendan Mullally (Baltimore, Md.) made sure the Continentals had no chance of rallying down the stretch. The pair combined for all five of Bates' goals in the third quarter as the Bobcats took a 13-6 lead. Chlastawa started the second half with an unassisted tally to put Bates up 9-5 with 13:58 left in the third quarter. Just 16 seconds later, first-year Dylan Williams (Sharon, Mass.) found Mullally for the latter's second goal of the day. With 8:49 left in the quarter, Chlastawa scored another unassisted goal and with 6:36 remaining Knapton connected with Mullally to cap off the 4-0 run.

After Chad Morse scored for Hamilton, Chlastawa beat the buzzer on a spectacular assist from senior captain Rocco Fantoni (Hauppage, N.Y.) for his third goal of the quarter and fourth of the game.

Bates outscored Hamilton in every quarter Saturday and the Bobcats' strong second and third quarters allowed them to pull away. Combined, the Bobcats outscored Hamilton 8-2 in the middle two quarters of action. In goal, Strain made four saves in the first quarter and six saves in each of the next three quarters. Fantoni turned in his usual strong performance on defense, tallying a team-high six ground balls and causing a turnover. He also scored his first goal of the season and dished out an assist. 

Sophomore Will Haskell (Norwalk, Conn.) was a force on defense as well, causing a team-high three turnovers. Offensively, Knapton, Kelleher and Mullally all tallied hat tricks, combining with Chlastawa to score 13 of the Bobcats' 17 goals.

This marks the fourth straight year Bates has defeated Hamilton in men's lacrosse. The Bobcats are back in action Wednesday at Bowdoin, with the action getting started at 7pm.

Chlastawa's fourth assist of the game was the 112th in his career, passing Kokoruda's record of 111 which stood for 24 years.