No. 3 Bates men's lacrosse opens NCAA Championships with a bang, defeats Plattsburgh State 23-10

LEWISTON, Maine -- Junior Clarke Jones scored a career-high five goals and senior captain Charlie Fay added four goals and three assists to lead the No. 3 nationally ranked Bates men's lacrosse team to a 23-10 victory over Plattsburgh State in the second round of the NCAA Championships Wednesday afternoon. 

"Our attack, our defense, our midfield, everyone was back in the groove again," Jones said. "Everything is opening up because of my teammates, I'm just cleaning up." 

With the victory, Bates (15-1) advances to the third round of the tournament to take on No. 11 Amherst this Saturday at Garcelon Field. Game time is to be announced. The Bobcats defeated Amherst 23-17 during the regular season. Plattsburgh State finishes its season with a record of 12-6.

Wednesday's game started out as a back and forth battle with Jones (Pepper Pike, Ohio) getting Bates on the board first with an unassisted tally less than a minute into the action. He wrapped the ball around the left post to open Wednesday's scoring for both teams.   

The Cardinals briefly took the lead thanks to two quick faceoff wins. Ryan Hubbard scored the equalizer just six seconds after Jones' goal on an assist from Joe Eiseman. Eiseman picked up the ground ball on the ensuing faceoff and raced down the field for the score, putting Plattsburgh State up 2-1 with 13:59 to go in the first quarter.

The lead only lasted for 46 seconds as Jones tied things up on an assist from Bates senior Andrew Melvin. Melvin (Medfield, Mass.) delivered an entry pass from the top to the front of the goal and Jones delivered the equalizer for Bates.

Then Fay (Falmouth, Maine) got on the board with an unassisted tally to put the Bobcats up 3-2 with 12:24 left in the first. He backed his defender down, inching his way to the doorstep before powering the ball into the net.  

Less than two minutes later, the Cardinals tied the game for the final time when Austin Belz scored on an assist from Ryan Callahan.

Jones gave the Bobcats the lead for good with 9:41 to go in the first quarter on an assist from Fay. Fay hit a cutting Jones from the left wing and Jones scored from five yards out. 

Jones' third goal of the first quarter started a 6-0 Bates run.

The Bobcats took a 9-3 lead with 12:04 left in the second quarter when Jones took advantage of a man-up situation and found the back of the net on an assist from Fay. Fay made a diagonal pass from behind the net and Jones scored from the right flat.

The Cardinals kept themselves in the game by scoring three of the next four goals to end the second quarter.

With 36 seconds left in the half, Hubbard cut the Bobcat lead to 10-6 on an unassisted tally. The junior finished with a team-high four goals for the Cardinals. 

The Bobcats led 10-6 at halftime and opened the second half by scoring two consecutive goals. Senior captain Kyle Weber (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) found an open lane on the right and fired his shot just under the crossbar to extend the lead to 11-6. Then Melvin backed his defender down from the right wing and powered the ball home for his second goal of the afternoon.

Plattsburgh State responded with two goals of their own to trim the Bobcat lead to 12-8 with 6:45 left in the third quarter. 

But Bates proceeded to go on a 7-0 run to take full command of the game. Once again, Jones started the run for Bates. First-year Matt Chlastawa (Westfield, Mass.) delivered a beautiful feed from the right wing and Jones executed a perfect underhand shot after a quick fake to put Bates up 13-8 with 5:47 left in the third. 

Seven different Bobcats scored during the decisive 7-0 run. Fay, Weber and Chlastawa scored in succession after Jones to give Bates a 16-8 lead at the end of three quarters. 

Senior Jake Walsh (Baltimore, Md.), junior Burke Smith (Wilton, Conn.) and sophomore Andrew Small (Deerfield, Ill.) opened the fourth quarter with goals for the Bobcats. Walsh scored his lone goal of the afternoon with 12:58 left in the fourth and Smith followed with his first and only goal on an assist from Chlastawa.

The 7-0 run culminated with Small finding the back of the net. Overall, 11 different Bobcats scored goals on the day.

The fourth quarter gave Bates a decisive advantage in most statistical categories. The Bobcats outshot the Cardinals 68-30 in the game and 18-2 in the fourth quarter. Bates won the ground ball battle 35-21 and 12-1 in the fourth quarter. The Bobcats won 24 of 36 faceoffs with senior Sam Francis (Newburyport, Mass.) winning 18 of 26. First-year goalkeeper Rob Strain (Montclair, N.J.) made a game-high 11 saves between the pipes for Bates.