NEWTON, Mass. — For the second time in program history, the Norwich University men’s lacrosse team claimed the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship on Saturday afternoon with an 8-6 victory over No. 1 seed Lasell College.
Norwich earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament with the victory. The Cadets will face New England College in the first round at 4 p.m. Tuesday in a game played at Tufts University’y Bello Field.
As predicted, it was a defensive battle from the start. A scoreless first quarter broke into three goals in the last four minutes, first for Lasell, answered by Parker Campbell for Norwich, then a Lasers tally with under a minute to go to give them a 2-1 lead after one.
The second quarter belonged to Norwich senior Aidan Moulton, as he tallied a goal off of a Thomas DeMag assist to tie things up before burying another goal off of a Kyle Maxim feed to give the Cadets the 3-2 lead heading into halftime.
Norwich’s defensive unit shone in the second and third quarter, shutting out the potent Lasers offense. Lasell fired off 13 shots over the two quarters, and Nick Kandra made seven saves (including six in the third) to keep the Lasers completely off the scoreboard. Meanwhile, Norwich freshman Parker Campbell put on his own show, assisting on Payden Masaracchia’s first goal of the day and scoring a goal himself unassisted to build a 5-2 Norwich lead heading into the final quarter.
Lasell threw everything at Norwich that they could handle, but the Cadets answered every single time to hold their lead. Kevin Horchak, Joseph Santangelo, and John Jennings all picked up goals to counter the four scored by the Lasers in the quarter, and the buzzer sounded on Norwich’s 8-6 victory.
The Cadets win the program’s second conference title (2013) and earn an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament beginning next week.
Kandra was simply phenomenal in goal, making 13 saves in net, nine in the second half. He earned the GNAC Tournament Most Valuable Player Award for his efforts, making 22 saves in the two games he handled for Norwich while allowing just 12 goals in 119:42 in goal.
Parker Campbell and Aidan Moulton each scored a pair of goals, with Campbell picking up an assist for a three-point day. The defensive unit as a whole caused 11 turnovers on the day while allowing just 19 of Lasell’s 37 shots to make it on goal.
Kandra was joined on the All-Tournament team by seniors Cody Moore, Jacob Center and Joseph Santangelo as well as junior attacker Jack Anzalone.