DANBURY, CT – Despite a team-high four goals from sophomore midfielder John Ward (Mahopac, NY), the Western Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team suffered a heartbreaking 11-10 overtime loss to visiting Little East Conference foe UMass-Dartmouth on Friday afternoon. The Colonials held a 7-1 lead in the second quarter, but the Corsairs chipped away at the advantage. In the extra session, sophomore attackman Donovan Prozinski (Ashland, MA) faked a righty shot, took a pair of steps to his right and fired a bounce shot into the back of the net from eight yards away, clinching the victory and sending UMass-Dartmouth into the postseason.
With the regular season finale loss, the Colonials' season abruptly came to end at 6-9 overall and 2-5 in league play, while the Corsairs improved to 8-9 and 3-4, earning a spot in the LEC Postseason Tournament.
"It was a tough way for the season to end. I wish we could've given our seniors a better send off," said WestConn head coach Ryan Cavanagh following the loss. "Turnovers and composure killed us in the second half as it did much of the season. Hopefully, our younger guys remember this and use it as we continue to build our program," he concluded.
The Colonials won nearly every statistical column of the contest. They finished ahead in shots (35-33), groundballs (28-24) and faceoffs (15-10). However, they coughed the ball up 21 times, while the visitors committed just 14 which translated to the final score.
WestConn erupted out of the gate to seize an early 7-1 lead. Junior attackman Robert Swensen (Danbury, CT) ignited the barrage with a pair of point blank tallies. Sophomore attackman Eric Caldwell (East Moriches, NY) then added a pair which included his team-leading 40th goal of the year. Sophomore middie Ryan Reuling (Groton, CT) capped the run with a pair of scoring strikes.
The Corsairs rallied with a 6-1 run in the second quarter, cutting the deficit to 8-7 at halftime. Prozinski – who finished with a game-high seven goals – began the spurt with his 34th tally of the season. He rounded out the run six seconds before the break when he collected his fourth goal of the game.
The squads exchanged goals in the third quarter before UMass-Dartmouth netted the equalizer. Prozinski took a feed from rookie Sawyer Gibbons (Sandwich, MA) and tickled the twine, knotting the count a 9-9 with 9:21 remaining on the clock.
Sophomore Tom Donahue (Gloucester, MA) gave the visitors their first lead with an unassisted goal with 3:34 left to play. Ward answered when he dodged past a pair of defenders and ripped a righty bounce shot from the left wing through the goalkeeper's legs, evening the score at 10-10 with 2:09 remaining.
UMD won the opening faceoff in the extra session. Prozinski then sealed the win less than a minute in, completing the stunning comeback.
WestConn goalkeeper Perry Cassidy (East Setauket, NY) wrapped up his rookie season with a stellar 11-save performance, finishing at 5-8. Sophomore netminder Ted McCaffery (Pepperell, MA) turned aside nine shot for the Corsairs and improved to 3-3.