Kevin Dargin scores twice and assists on another for three-point day
RINDGE, N.H. (March 29, 2014) – Junior goalie Don Denman (Exeter, N.H.) made 14 saves, including several early in the second half to spearhead a strong defensive effort by the Franklin Pierce University men’s lacrosse team in an 11-9 win over American International on Saturday at Sodexo Field in Rindge.
The Ravens won their second straight to improve to 5-2 overall and 3-2 in the Northeast-10, marking just the second time in program history they are three games over .500, and for the first time since they began the 2010 campaign with four-consecutive victories. AIC dipped to 1-9 and 1-5 in league play.
Franklin Pierce’s smothering defensive play during the entire third quarter and early stages of the fourth was the key to Saturday’s win, as it helped the Ravens shake loose of a lethargic start in the first half and a 3-2 halftime deficit.
The Ravens limited the Yellow Jackets to just eight shots in the first 24 minutes of the second half, and only one of those attempts beat Denman. AIC did fire off a string of four shots over a 90-second span late in the third, but Denman turned aside a pair. He also squared off with, and swatted away, back-to-back attempts early in the fourth when it was just a three-goal lead for the Ravens.
Denman’s defenders in front of him also stepped up and were tireless workers on 50-50 balls, logging a 36-29 advantage in ground balls. Malcolm Sutton (Hooksett, N.H.) and Connor Defemia (Ellington, Conn.) each picked up four grounders, while Will Schorle (Marshfield, Mass.) and Dylan Leone (Tewksbury, Mass.) collected three apiece. Franklin Pierce also forced the Yellow Jackets into nine turnovers.
While the backend was building a wall, the offense finally caught its stride in the second half, outscoring AIC, 5-1, to take a 7-4 lead into the fourth. Junior attackman Eddie Noonan (Foxboro, Mass.), who recorded a hat-trick on the afternoon, scored two of his markers in the third to help spark the comeback. Classmate Kevin Dargin (Littleton, Mass.) assisted on Noonan’s second tally of the period, and added a strike of his own with 4:49 left. Alex Connolly (West Newbury, Mass.) opened the quarter’s scoring with a goal at 11:34, and Erik Kelly (Tewksbury, Mass.), who had a pair of tallies on the day, capped the frame’s scoring with a marker at 3:34.
Dargin, Casey Burnett (Windham, N.H.), and Brenden Caldeira (Sandwich, Mass.) each pumped in goals to open the fourth quarter to open up a six-goal advantage.
AIC finally broke Franklin Pierce’s defensive stranglehold with a goal from Matthew Briggs with 5:57 to go, and after Cody MacLellan (Keene, N.H.) answered with a rip to push the margin back out to six, AIC scored four straight – including three in the final minute – to make the final score seem closer than what it was in the second half.
Denman improved to 5-2 on the year, while AIC counterpart Perry Booker made 15 saves, but fell to 1-9 on the season.
In addition to Kelly scoring two goals, Dargin pumped in a pair as well to equal Noonan with a team-best three points on the day. Justin Bard led American International with five goals, including four in the fourth quarter.
Franklin Pierce has a mid-week bye, but returns to action next Saturday when the Ravens travel to Manchester to take on Saint Anselm at 11 a.m.
For more information on Franklin Pierce men’s lacrosse, please visit the team’s page at http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu. To follow the department even further, please visit Franklin Pierce Athletics on YouTube (www.youtube.com/FranklinPierceSports), Twitter (www.twitter.com/FPUathletics) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce men’s lacrosse apparel can do so on the athletic department’s online store at http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store(.)