Sam Hornblower: 2017 LEC Defensive Player of the Year

USM Falls at Western Connecticut 9-8

Junior James Soules picked up 10 ground balls against Western Connecticut.
Junior James Soules picked up 10 ground balls against Western Connecticut.

(Courtesy of Western Connecticut Sports Information)

USM Falls to Western Connecticut 9-8

            DANBURY, Conn. -- Senior goalkeeper Tyler Martone (Cheshire, Conn.) recorded 15 saves and senior Ryan Gillis (Norwich, Conn.) scored four goals and handed out two assists to lead the Western Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team to a 9-8 win over Little East Conference rival Southern Maine Saturday afternoon on Senior Day at the Westside Athletic Complex.

            With the win, Western Connecticut stands at 7-4 on the season and 2-1 in the LEC.  USM, with it seventh straight defeat, falls to 3-8 overall and 0-3 in the LEC.

            Seniors Mike Schoen (Tolland, Conn.) and Raul Bourgeois (New Milford, Conn.) added two goals and one goal, respectively for Western.  Sophomore Ryan Foster (Ledyard, Conn.) and freshman Taylor Leahy (Marlborough, Conn.) each scored once for the Colonials.

            For the Southern Maine, sophomore Dylan Kenney (Portland, Maine/Portland) led the offense with three goals, followed by senior Dan Thomas (Shrewsbury, Mass.) with two.  Senior Willie Joy (Portland, Maine/Deering), junior Ryan Foley (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), and senior Nate Prince (West Gardiner, Maine/Gardiner Area) scored single goals for the Huskies.

            Southern Maine broke a scoreless tie 10 minutes into the first quarter on an unassisted goal by Thomas, and the first quarter ended with the Huskies holding a slim 1-0 lead.

            The Huskies extended their lead midway through the second period to 2-0 in a score by Prince, but Foster answered one minute later to get Western on the board.  The Colonials dominated the remainder of the second quarter with Schoen, Bourgeois, and Leahy each scoring within four minutes of Western's first goal to make the score 4-2 in favor of Western at the half.

            Southern Maine opened the second-half scoring with a man-down goal, but Gillis scored the first of his four goals just 19 seconds later for a 5-3 Western lead.  Schoen's second goal pushed the margin to 6-3, but then it was Southern Maine's turn to dominate as the Huskies scored three unanswered goals, two by Kenney and one from Joy, to close out the third for a 6-6 tie.

            The visitors regained the lead, 7-6, in the first minute of play in the fourth quarter with their fourth consecutive goal coming from Foley.  Gillis carried the load for Western down the stretch, scoring the Colonials' final three goals in a period.  After opening the scoring two hours earlier, Thomas scored the game's final goal with just over one minute remaining to make the final margin 9-8 in favor of the Colonials.

            Martone earned the win in goal for the Colonials, while junior keeper Kyle Dussault (Lewiston, Maine) made 9 saves in a losing effort for Southern Maine.

            The Colonials return to action on Wednesday (7:00 p.m.) when they travel to play Salem State.  The Huskies travel to Plymouth State University on Wednesday (4:00 p.m.).