BEVERLY, Mass. – The top seed in the CCC Tournament and the 11th-ranked team in the country, Endicott men's lacrosse, will play on Saturday, May 3 in search of its eighth conference championship in program history after defeating Salve Regina 25-5 in the CCC Semifinals at Endicott Stadium on Wednesday evening. The Gulls tied their program record with 22 caused turnovers and benefited from 14 goal scorers finding the back of net to reach their 11th CCC Championship game since the 2001 season.
Saturday's CCC Championship will feature #1 Endicott (14-3) versus conference rival #2 Western New England (9-7) who the Gulls have faced in four of their previous five appearances in the title game since the 2008 season. The Blue and Green handed the Golden Bears a 20-6 loss at home during the 2014 regular season back on April 15 but lost to Western New England in the 2013 CCC Championship 9-5 in Beverly last spring. Endicott and Western New England will face-off at 3:00 pm on Saturday.
Western New England defeated #3 Roger Williams 16-12 in their conference semifinal match up and are currently riding a three-game winning streak since their mid-April loss at Endicott. The Gulls have won five straight dating back to April 8 but won all eight of their conference games this season.
Salve Regina (13-5) saw their hopes for a first-time appearance in the conference championship come to an end on Wednesday and will now look towards a possible bid into the ECAC Division III New England Tournament which will be revealed on Monday.
In today's CCC Semifinal between Endicott and Salve Regina, the Gulls outscored the Seahawks in each period including 8-2 and 3-1 results in the first and second quarters en route to an 11-3 lead at halftime. Endicott continued to apply offensive pressure in the second half, outscoring Salve Regina 14-2 over the final 30 minutes to secure the win. Gulls sophomore goalie Cameron Bell (Falmouth, Maine) played all but 11:53 of the game, making nine saves between the pipes, before giving way to senior Nick Triano (North Andover, Mass.) who played the majority of the fourth quarter, making three saves in the process.
Endicott's defensive presence was led by senior Breck Merritt (Weston, Mass.) and junior Ian Knechtle (New Canaan, Conn.) who caused four and three turnovers, respectively, with Knechtle leading all defenseman with five ground balls. Senior defender Matt Holzinger (Fairfield, Conn.) came on in the second half to continue the defensive pressure with two caused turnovers.
Offensively, junior attacker Kyle Weber (West Hartford, Conn.) paced all Endicott players with seven points on four goals and three assists while junior attacker Nick Pinciaro (Beverly, Mass.) nearly matched his effort with six points of his own on four goals and two assists. Junior midfielder Harrison Cotter (Lordship, Conn.) delivered three goals to drive his team-leading total to 50 while freshman attacker Colin Bannon (Westport, Conn.) tallied two goals and two assists to contribute to Endicott's offensive outburst.
Also contributing to Endicott's success against Salve Regina was the stellar play of face-off men Tommy Hughes (Coram, N.Y.) and Shane Hughes (York Beach, Maine) as the freshmen combined to go 23-of-34 at the "x". Tommy Hughes won 13-of-18 showdowns with seven ground balls before giving way to Shane Hughes who captured 10-of-16 with a game-high nine ground balls.
For Salve Regina, sophomore midfielder James Fee (Massapequa, N.Y.) struck with two goals while freshman attacker Nick LoCicero (Lynbrook, N.Y.) dished out two assists. Sophomores Alex Flynn (Nashua, N.H.) and Sharp Jones (Scituate, Mass.) and freshman Brendan McGrath (New Mildford, Conn.) all found the back the net to complete the Seahawks scoring. Defensively, junior Steven Russell (Bayport, N.Y.) matched Merritt with a game-high four ground balls as well as Shane Hughes with nine ground balls.
Several Gulls tallied points in the win with notable efforts coming junior attacker Artemio Sisson III (Sterling Heighs, Mich.) notching his first goal in an Endicott uniform with Shane Hughes, freshman midfielder Thomas Harvey (Huntington, N.Y.), and sophomore Peter Field Jr. (Hampstead, N.H.) recording their first assists of the season.