Bates men's lacrosse drops a 14-13 thriller on the road to Wesleyan in NCAA quarterfinals

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -- The No. 3 nationally ranked Bates men's lacrosse team rallied from seven goals down to tie the game but Harry Stanton scored with 38 seconds remaining to give No. 4 Wesleyan a 14-13 victory over the Bobcats Wednesday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships. 

The Bobcats (16-2) wrap up their outstanding 2017 season and the Cardinals (20-1) advance to play at RIT Sunday in the NCAA semifinals. 

Senior captain Charlie Fay (Falmouth, Maine) scored seven goals on Wednesday to finish his career with 167, three shy of the program record of 170 held by Mike D'Addario '00. Fay's 19 goals in this year's tournament are only two shy of the Division III tournament record, and his 27 points are three shy of the record set by Tufts' John Uppgren in 2015. All of the current records were established over five games while Fay accumulated his totals in three.

Fay personally led the Bobcats' comeback down the stretch. He scored with 2:06 remaining on an assist from senior captain Kyle Weber (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) to get Bates within two at 13-11. Then a crucial three-minute illegal procedure penalty got called on the Cardinals' Zach Zavalick for having an illegal stick, giving Bates a man-up opportunity for the remainder of the game. 

Fay took advantage, scoring again with 1:47 left on another assist from Weber to make the score 13-12. He tied the game with 1:29 remaining when senior Andrew Melvin (Medfield, Mass.) found Fay for the equalizer.

But the Bobcats got called for a faceoff violation and Wesleyan gained possession. Stanton scored the game-winner when two Bates defenders got their feet tangled up chasing him, leaving the NESCAC's leading scorer this season wide open for the goal.  

The Bobcats got the ball back and had one last chance to tie the game again. But Weber's shot got denied by Wesleyan keeper Ted Bergman, his 13th, and perhaps most important save of the game. 

Bates found themselves down 6-0 at halftime. Bergman made nine saves in the first half, including a remarkable seven in the first quarter. 

First-year Matt Chlastawa (Westfield, Mass.) got Bates on the board on an assist from junior Clarke Jones (Pepper Pike, Ohio) with 13:04 to go in the third quarter. Chlastawa followed up his goal by finding Weber, who trimmed the deficit to 6-2 with 12:02 remaining in the third. 

The Cardinals scored three unanswered to go up 9-2 with 7:36 left in the third quarter, their biggest lead of the game.

After falling behind by seven, the Bobcats went on a 5-0 run to cut the deficit to 9-7 with 3:47 to go in the third.

Melvin got the run started in transition on a nice feed from sophomore Dahnique Brown-Jones (New Britain, Conn.) and Fay scored three goals in a row before Melvin capped off the surge with an unassisted tally.

But the Cardinals responded with three unanswered goals of their own to go up 12-7 with 13:11 remaining in the game.

The Bobcats scored six of the next seven goals in the fourth quarter to tie the game. Junior Clarke Jones (Pepper Pike, Ohio) got things going with 10:09 left in the fourth on an assist from Melvin.

Fay found Weber with 7:43 to go and Weber returned the favor with 5:06 remaining by finding Fay in a man-up situation to cut the deficit to 12-10.

The Cardinals got a big insurance goal with 2:54 to go courtesy of Taylor Ghesquiere on an assist from Christian Barker. That's when the Bobcats rallied to tie things up before Stanton's game-winner.

The game turned out to be just as even statistically as it was on the scoreboard. Both teams took 46 shots. Wesleyan narrowly won the ground ball battle 30-28. Bates held the edge in the turnover category, giving the ball up 14 times to Wesleyan's 17 turnovers.

The Cardinals won 15 of 28 faceoffs and Bates committed five faceoff violations to Wesleyan's two.