Hobart College held the upper hand in shots (42-25) and ground balls (28-23) in its Northeast Conference men’s lacrosse contest with Wagner College, and none were more important than sophomore Sean Donnelly’s scoop and score with just one second remaining in overtime, giving the Statesmen a 7-6 victory at Boswell Field Saturday, April 11th. It’s the third time in four games that Hobart has won by that score in OT.
The Seahawks came into the game eighth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 7.7 goals per game. Wagner forced Hobart into tough angle and long-range shots all afternoon, limiting the home team to just six goals through 60 minutes.
The Statesmen’s final rush started on the defensive end of the field when first-year defenseman D. Bennett Moore got his second caused turnover and second ground ball of the game, starting a Hobart clear with less than 20 seconds remaining in overtime.
Running out of time, the Statesmen forced a cross-field pass to senior Taylor Vanderbeek who made an impressive catch in traffic and got off a low shot that Seahawk junior Anthony Peruso saved, but the rebound rolled out of his crease and Donnelly was there to snag it and slip it home before the buzzer sounded.
“When we got the ball back were trying to push it and get it toward the net,” Donnelly said. “Basically, I was trying to screen the goalie so Beek could shoot it. He shot it low like we were told all week and it just popped right out to me and I just shot it as fast as I could because I knew time was running out.”
Hobart (7-3) improved to 4-0 in conference play for the first time in program history. The Statesmen opened NEC play with a 7-6 OT win over Bryant and repeated that result at Robert Morris a week later.
At the start of the contest, it took over 10 minutes for the scoring to get underway. Senior Brendan Saylor broke the stalemate with an unassisted strike with just 4:55 left in the opening quarter. First-year J. Andrew Spallanzani won the ensuing faceoff thanks to a ground ball pickup by sophomore Arik Andreen. He dished off to junior Frank Brown who set up classmate Matt Opsahl for a 2-0 lead. Andreen and Brown picked up five ground balls apiece, sharing team-high honors.
Wagner got on the board about a minute later when first-year Andrew Streilein found the back of the net to make it a 2-1 game.
In the second quarter, the teams traded goals with Saylor scoring again for Hobart and senior attackman David DeCirce answering for the Seahawks.
Streilein opened the second half scoring to knot the game at three, but sophomore Max Romm and Opsahl countered for the Statesmen to send the home team into the fourth quarter with a 5-3 lead.
Wagner got two quick goals to start the fourth, leveling the game at five, but Vanderbeek put Hobart back in front, tucking a high shot just under the cross bar midway through the quarter.
Streilein completed his hat trick at the 6:27 mark of the fourth to forge the game’s third tie and set the stage for overtime.
Hobart’s defense, which began the day 18th in the nation in goals allowed per game (8.77), held its sixth consecutive opponent to nine goals or less. In conference play, the Statesmen are allowing just 5.75 goals per game. Sophomore goalie Jackson Brown picked up his seventh win of the season with an 11 save effort. Peruso logged 12 saves for the visitors.
Spallanzani won nine of the 14 faceoffs he took, leading the Statesmen to a 10-6 edge at the X. Hobart was a perfect 9-for-9 on clears, while Wagner was 11-of-16. The Seahawks were 0-for-3 with the extra-man while the Statesmen were 0-for-1.
Hobart will be back in action on Tuesday, April 14, when the Statesmen visit Syracuse at 7 p.m. The Seahawks return home to host Sacred Heart on April 18 at 1 p.m.
This is the third time in program history that Hobart has played three overtime games in a season. The first time was in 1997. That year, the Statesmen lost three OT games on the road to Notre Dame, Penn State, and Syracuse. The second time was in 2014 when Hobart beat Canisius and Saint Joseph’s, but lost to Binghamton … Prior to 2013, Hobart had never won consecutive overtime games. Since the start of the 2013 season, the Statesmen are 7-1 in OT and have now won five straight dating back to last season’s 11-10 OT win at Canisius. … Overall Hobart is 16-30 in overtime games.