NEW LONDON, Conn. – Riley McNulty found the back of the net with just eight seconds remaining to lift Coast Guard to an 11-10 victory over Connecticut College in non-conference men's lacrosse action at Cadet Memorial Field on Wednesday evening.
For the second straight year, Coast Guard led for most of the game and the Camels came back to set up a thrilling finish which would come down to the final possession. The Bears, however, had the ball last this time thanks to Connor Ellis' caused turnover on a Camel clear attempt which gave the hosts a chance to call a timeout and set up one final play with 1:10 left.
After McNulty and Riley each misfired wide, Benner Geurtsen found McNulty for another shot that he finished low from a tough angle with just 8.8 seconds remaining for what proved to be the difference. Sophomore Toby Almeida (Cumberland, R.I.) won the ensuing faceoff, but there was not enough time for him or anyone to get a good look to net the equalizer.
Coast Guard (6-2) steamrolled its way to a 7-2 advantage in the first quarter with Wyler and McNulty leading the charge before becoming heroes in the end. McNulty netted a natural hat trick, and Wyler followed with back-to-back tallies during a streak of scoring six unanswered during the opening frame. Despite the slow start, the Camels chipped away at the deficit through the second and found themselves only trailing by three goals at the recess.
Connecticut College's momentum carried into the third quarter, as the team netted three straight goals to complete a 6-1 run which dated back to the end of the opening stanza. But even though junior Brandon Plante (Urbana, Md.) was able to knot the score at 8s with consecutive markers, Wyler was able to answer with two straight of his own late in the third and early in the fourth. The Bears never surrendered the lead and were able to held off another comeback attempt by the visitors thanks to getting a timely goal in the waning seconds.
McNulty finished the game with five goals and three assists and Wyler tallied four goals to go along with one helper to lead the way for Coast Guard, which outshot the visitors by a 48-32 margin and had a 31-22 advantage in ground balls. Tom Bleifuss led the defensive effort with two caused turnovers and five ground balls, while goalie Trey Johnson picked up the victory by making nine saves.
Plante and junior Jack Rutter (Madison, N.J.) paced Connecticut College with hat tricks and Rutter also racked up four assists. Almeida picked up six ground balls, junior Courtney Morgan (South Windsor, Conn.) caused two turnovers defensively, and junior goalie Colin Smith (Mount Kisco, N.Y.) turned away 13 shots in more than 50 minutes of action.
Connecticut College (3-5) will seek to earn its first NESCAC victory when it next hosts undefeated and No. 3-ranked Tufts on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.