MEDFORD, Mass. — The Norwich University men’s lacrosse team had its 2019 season come to a close Tuesday afternoon as the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) champions fell 12-10 to the Pilgrims of New England College in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
A tightly contested first quarter ended up in NEC’s favor by a 3-2 margin, despite first-quarter goals from Aidan Moulton and Kyle Maxim for the Cadets.
Norwich’s offense got clicking in the second quarter, first with a Cody Moore unassisted tally to even things at 3-3. From there, it was all Payden Masaracchia, as the sophomore went off for three straight goals in the final three minutes, including one with just two seconds left, to give Norwich a slim 6-5 advantage at the half.
The Pilgrims came out in the third quarter and put forth their best 15 minutes of the day, scoring five goals while keeping the Norwich offense completely off the board. Their run extended into the fourth quarter, tallying the first goal of the final stanza to take an 11-6 advantage with barely 12 minutes remaining.
Jack Anzalone nearly brought the Cadets back by himself, scoring three straight goals to bring Norwich back to just a two-goal deficit.
The Cadets couldn’t quite find the goals they needed, and another Anzalone goal with just 21 seconds left wasn’t enough as Norwich fell by a 12-10 final score.
Underclassmen Anzalone and Masaracchia combined for seven of Norwich’s 10 goals on the day, four for Anzalone and three for Masaracchia.
The two attackmen will be players to watch during the 2020 season. Senior Joseph Santangelo put together another excellent day in the circle, going 15-19 and 11-11 in the first half.
Norwich outshot NEC 39-26, but the Pilgrims’ goalie made 12 saves to escape with the victory.
The loss signals the end of a very successful 2019 season for the Cadets. Norwich captured the program’s second GNAC title (2013) and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament, where the Cadets were tantalizingly close to the program’s first-ever NCAA victory.
The Cadets finish the season as the 2019 GNAC champions with an overall record of 13-5.