Beacons’ Light Snuffed Out

Jason Campos

The tournament was very much like the season. At times, the UMass Boston lacrosse team displayed a dominance that dazzled their opponents. Other times, the squad ran up against teams with more experience and depth

Co-captain Phil Pittorino led his team with five goals as the Beacons handily defeated the Plymouth State Panthers 14-6 at the Clark Athletic Center in the first round of the Little East Conference tournament. The Beacons came into the game as the conference’s fourth seed, and Plymouth State was the fifth seed. Earlier in the year, the Beacons destroyed the Panthers 23-4.

The weekend, however, proved to be not as rewarding. Facing the conference’s offensive and defensive team in Eastern Connecticut State, the Beacons could not get their offense in gear. Junior attacker Marc DiGiovan scored a career-high six goals as the Warriors beat the Beacons 17-3.

The Plymouth State game started out swimmingly for the Beacons. Two pairs of goals by Dan Gardener and Jay Chisolm, and a solo tally by Pittorino paced UMB to a 5-0 lead. Plymouth State had difficulty setting up in their offensive zone. With less than 30 seconds left, goalie Johny Walker scooped up a loose ball and hurled the ball to midfield to an open Dan Lynch. Lynch darted to his left to avoid a Plymouth State defender and he unloaded a low shot that beat goalie Dan Egan with seven seconds left in the period.

Although the second period had much less scoring, the Beacons still dominated. After Plymouth State scored its first goal of the game, Pittorino popped in his second goal of the game with 8:20 remaining in the first half. That goal was to be the last one scored in the second period, but UMB did not allow Plymouth State to have but one or two mild threats. The Beacons had a stretch where the attackers and midfielders held possession of the ball for five minutes.

The Beacons looked to be on their way to a cakewalk of a victory after Pittorino scored his third goal within the first minute of play in the third period. However, Plymouth State made a modest rally with three consecutive goals. After Panther attacker Pat O’Malley scored two back-to-back goals, he set up midfielder Ken McGuire for a goal.

McGuire was stationed out in front of Walker. He received a pass from O’Malley, who was on the sideline, and he ripped a shot by Walker to close the lead to 8-4.

UMB called a timeout to regroup and regain their composure. Sure enough, Pittorino took charge. After the faceoff off the timeout, the ball went to Pittorino. He headed down field, faked out one Panther defender out of his shoes, and rifled the ball into the net for his fourth goal, breaking up the Plymouth State momentum.

The Beacons scored another goal less than two minutes later when Chisolm tallied his third goal of the game. Chris Espinola started the play when he made a nice defensive maneuver to force a Plymouth State turnover of possession. Espinola picked up the ball and dashed downfield. He flipped the ball to attacker Mike Forns. With a defender draped on him, Forns caught sight of Chisolm, who was cutting to the net. Forns shook his defender by doing a 360, got the ball quickly to Chisolm, who put the ball in the net almost as soon as he received it.

With the score 11-4 heading into the fourth quarter, goalie Jason Gardener came in to relieve Walker. Pittorino scored his final goal of the game with only 43 seconds having elapsed. Sing Phetvixay got on the score sheet when he scored his only one of the game a minute later. A Dan Gardener shot from about fifteen feet out was stopped Egan, but the ball bounced to Phetvixay, who quickly deposited into the back of the net, giving the Beacons their largest lead of the game 13-4. Chisolm finished off the scoring for the Beacons and Plymouth State recorded two more goals.

The semifinals match against Eastern Connecticut State was not one to remember. The three goals were the lowest number scored by the Beacons in any game this season.

The Beacons had lost to Eastern Connecticut State, one of the nation’s best Division III lacrosse teams, earlier in the season by a 15-7 score and the team wanted a much different result this time around. After one period of play, the Beacons were down only by a score of 4-2

However, things unraveled in the second period, as the Warriors put seven balls in the net and stifled the Beacons’ offensive attack. The third period was not too kind to the Beacons either, as Eastern Connecticut State scored three more times to UMB’s zero, giving the Warriors a 14-2. Three more goals by Eastern Connecticut State in the fourth period and one goal by the Beacons put the final score at 17-3.

The Beacon goals were scored by Forns, Pittorino, and Hennigan. Walker came up with 19 saves in three periods of action and Gardener stopped seven in relief duty in the fourth period. The Beacons finish with a record of 8-6.