Men's lacrosse closes out 2018 with win over Hartwick

Eric Zurmuehle '18 (Josh McKee photo)
Eric Zurmuehle '18 (Josh McKee photo)

Hamilton College's Chad Morse '19 and Clay McCollum '19 scored three goals apiece and the Continentals edged the Hartwick College Hawks 8-7 in non-conference action at Hamilton's Withiam Field on a mild Tuesday evening.

The Continentals finished 2018 with an overall record of 2-13. Both of Hamilton's wins came on Withiam Field. The Continentals have won seven straight games against Hartwick -- a streak that dates back to 2001.

The Hawks (8-4) dropped to 1-4 away from home with the one-goal loss. Hartwick allowed an average of less than six goals per game going into Tuesday night's contest.

Morse leads the team with 26 goals and 33 points. Eric Zurmuehle '18 won 13 of 17 faceoffs, scooped up 10 ground balls, and added a goal and an assist. Zurmuehle finishes his Hamilton career with 552 faceoff wins and 350 ground balls. Zach Larsen '19 chipped in a goal and his team-leading 13th assist.

McCollum, Matt Greene '18 and Andrej Bogdanovics '19 picked up four ground balls each for the Continentals. Christian Hansson '19, John Ennis '19 and Rob Arrix '19 caused two turnovers each, and Kyle Gately '20 made four of his eight saves in the fourth quarter.

Brett Maguire and Justin Curreri paced the Hawks' offense with two goals apiece. Eric Schweitzer led the defense with six caused turnovers and seven ground balls, and added a goal for good measure. Garrison Wojtas contributed three caused turnovers and three ground balls, and C.J. Alesandrini made five of his 10 stops in the second quarter.

Zurmuehle opened the fourth quarter by winning the faceoff, picking up the ground ball and giving Hamilton an 8-5 lead with his 12th career goal just seven seconds into the quarter. Maguire cut the Continentals' lead to two with 7:05 left and he pulled Hartwick within a goal on a pass from Wyatt Long 15 seconds into a pushing penalty on a Hamilton player with 2:30 remaining.

Zurmuehle won the ensuing faceoff and James Sanderson '21 picked up the ground ball. The Continentals eventually called their final timeout with 1:19 to go and shortly after they returned to action, the officials started the 30-second shot clock. With the clock winding down, Chris Conley '20 cut hard to the front of the goal and seemed to score the clinching goal with 33 seconds left, but the officials ruled he had stepped in the crease and gave the ball to the Hawks.

This time it was Hartwick's turn to call timeout with 17 seconds remaining. The Hawks tried to set up a play to score the game-tying goal, but Ennis forced a turnover and Greene corralled the loose ball as the final seconds ticked away.

Schweitzer gave Hartwick its only lead early in the first quarter. Conley passed to Larsen, who scored on a shot from long range midway through the first. Morse added two goals in the final minute of the quarter and gave Hamilton a 3-1 lead after 15 minutes.

The Hawks tied the score on goals by Mike Majchrzak and Curreri early in the second quarter, but Morse put the Continentals back in front with 8:30 to go. Hamilton took a 4-3 edge into the break.

Hartwick had been flagged for a slashing penalty just seconds before the end of the first half, and McCollum made the Hawks pay 15 seconds into the third quarter with a man-up goal after a pass from Henry Hunt '20. Zurmuehle won the next faceoff and passed to McCollum for another goal nine seconds later. McCollum completed his hat trick and gave the Continentals a 7-3 cushion with 11:34 left. Chris VanDemark scored for Hartwick with 4:30 remaining in the third and Curreri cut it to 7-5 on his goal with 14.4 seconds to go. Hamilton held a 12-4 shot advantage and a 15-7 cushion in ground balls in the third quarter.