WINGATE, N.C. – For the second straight game, the visiting Lake Erie College men's lacrosse team spotted its hosts an early lead only to charge back with an impressive offensive showing, this time scoring nine straight first-half goals en route to a 17-7 nonconference win at Wingate University Sunday (April 28) in the regular season finale.
The victory was the third straight for the 12th-ranked Storm (11-3) who will face sixth-ranked Seton Hill University Friday, May 3, in the semifinals of the East Coast Athletic Conference Division II playoffs.
In their final tune-up before postseason play begins, the Storm spotted the Bulldogs (2-14) a 1-0 lead in the first five minutes before reeling off nine straight scores to make a 9-1 lead late into the first half. Junior MacGregor Johnston (Nanaimo, B.C./Dover Bay) opened the scoring for the Storm while classmate Trevor Tarte (Amherstburg, Ont./Kiski Prep) scored three times during the nine-goal spurt. Seniors Keegan Bal (Coquitlam, B.C./Centennial Secondary) and Joeyjohn French (Tully, N.Y./Tully) each scored twice in the run as Lake Erie seemingly took control.
However, Wingate mounted a rally, scoring four goals in the final five minutes of the first half to cut into the Storm lead. Lake Erie was up 9-5 going into halftime.
The LEC response came early in the third with Tarte, Bal, French and sophomore Reagan Harding (Saskatoon, Sask./bishop Jones Mahoney) each scored during a two-minute stretch that saw the lead extended to 13-6 just 4:25 into the second half.
Harding scored twice in the final frame as the Storm put the game away with a four-goal fourth quarter.
Lake Erie outshot Wingate 49-22 and converted on all three of its man-up opportunities in the game. Bal, Harding and Tarte all finished the game with four goals with Bal also adding two assists for a six-point day. Tarte totaled five points and senior Josh Becker (Salamanca, N.Y./Salamanca) assisted on four of Lake Erie's 17 goals.
French scored three times while Johnston and freshman Mitchell Shafer (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg) had Lake Erie's other two goals.
Freshman Tom Lipomi (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg) made five saves in goal for the Green and White.
Derek Watts led Wingate with four goals while Travis Price made 12 saves.
The Storm's playoff game against the Griffins will start at 2 p.m. on Friday at Tullio Field in Erie, Pa. Top-ranked Mercyhurst University, the regular season ECAC champion, is the tournament host.