Men’s lacrosse defeats Binghamton

The UVM men’s lacrosse team overcame a sluggish start to defeat the Binghamton University Bearcats 17-9 Saturday night at Virtue Field, clinching their second consecutive America East playoff berth and ending their regular season with a victory.

Prior to the game, the Catamounts held Senior Night festivities for the seven seniors playing their final home game for the Catamounts.

The Catamounts started off slow, as Binghamton scored four times in the first quarter and added a fifth early in the second, opening up a 5-0 lead despite trailing in the shot count.

“I think we were a little tentative; we weren’t taking the shots there that we would normally take,” head coach Ryan Curtis said. “But once we started running a little bit, I think the guys loosened up and were able to do the things we were hoping we’d be able to do.”

It could have been worse if not for the heroics of goalkeeper junior Jon Kaplan, who made 13 saves.

“[Kaplan]’s a tough kid to figure out,” Curtis said. “But he’s playing great, and if he can keep doing that, then we should be in games.”

However, the fifth goal seemed to awaken the Catamounts, who needed a win to punch their ticket to the America East Playoffs.

UVM scored four goals in a row to shrink the Binghamton lead to 5-4 before the Bearcats added a pair to up the lead to 7-4.
Then, with 17 seconds to go until halftime, UVM sophomore midfielder Matt Gudas cut the deficit to two.

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The Catamounts, flexing their offensive muscles in the second half, showed why they entered the game ranked No. 14 nationally in goals per game, according to the NCAA.

Gudas and sophomore attacker Cam Stafford each scored their second goal of the game, pulling the game even. With about three minutes to go in the third quarter, senior attacker James Barlow’s second goal of the game put the Cats ahead 8-7, a lead they would not lose.

The Catamounts poured it on, scoring eight goals in the fourth quarter, including first-year midfielder Elliott Mitchell’s first career goal, and Binghamton was only able to pull two of those back.

Stafford and Barlow each recorded a hat trick, and UVM leading scorer midfielder Ian MacKay, a junior, finished the game with five points. The Catamounts’ defense and goalkeeping was also able to keep Binghamton’s leading scorer, Zach Scaduto, off the scoresheet.

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“It was a slow start, but after we got one or two goals to drop, we just sort of got back to what we usually do: grind, get the ground balls, out-tough them,” senior midfielder Nick Bartlett said. “And [LeBlanc] did a hell of a job on the faceoffs. It was just a team effort, and that’s what it’s been all year.”

The Catamounts wrapped up the third seed in the America East Playoffs, and face the Stony Brook Seawolves May 5 in Albany in the semifinals.

“They’re a great team,” Bartlett said. “But we’re rolling at the right time and I think we’ve got a good chance to do something special and continue this run.”