Senior goalie turns in MVP performance in LEC title win over Keene
Photos by Chris Ganoe
WATCH: Post-game interview with Jamie Tommins (at left) (3:23)
MANSFIELD, Conn. - Senior Jamie Tommins (Fairfield) made a career-high 24 saves and the man-down unit killed ten of 11 penalties as the Eastern Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team won its seventh Little East Conference championship in 12 years with a 13-10 victory over Keene State College Saturday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
A winner of seven straight, Eastern (12-5) scored seven consecutive goals in the second half to erase a three-goal deficit with 25 minutes left and down two-time defending playoff champion Keene (10-6). The Owls had won seven straight - including a 21-0 pasting of Plymouth State University inThursday's semifinals -- since dropping a 14-11 decision to Eastern at Mansfield a month ago.
Keene outshot Eastern, 55-33, but Tommins - named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player -- turned back 24 shots -- one shy of the program record --, including 11 in the fourth quarter when the Owls outshot the Warriors, 22-4. The Warriors scored the final five goals of the third quarter to move out to a 10-8 lead with 15 minutes remaining, then scored the first two of the fourth quarter to build the lead to four, 12-8, with nine minutes left.
Eastern accumulated nine minutes and 30 seconds worth of penalties, but its man-down unit killed off seven penalties in the final quarter to preserve the lead and surrendered just one man-up goal on 11 tries in the contest.
At left: Jamie Tommins lines up this second-half shot by Keene's Taylor Jette.
There were five ties and two lead changes before Eastern took the lead for good on sophomore midfielder Mike Devine's (Cheshire) goal on a pass from sophomore attack Mike Jordan (Cheshire) that made it 9-8 with two minutes left in the third quarter. Shut out in the first half, Devine scored three of the first four goals in the 7-0 run - the first two on assists from senior attack Michael Sullinger (Brookfield). Sullinger, the team leader in points, closed out the third quarter with his second goal of the match with 5.8 seconds left, and first-year junior attack Christian Leone (West Norwalk) and senior attack Jeremy Cogliano (Bedford, MA) beat Keene junior goalie Jason Leser to open the fourth quarter to give the hosts a four-goal lead, 12-8, with nine minutes left.
After the Warriors opened the second half with a goal from sophomore attack Trevor Morrissette (Bedford, NH) that tied the match for the fourth time, Keene took its largest lead (three goals) on strikes from senior attack Matt Schairer, senior midfielder Ian Hart and junior midfielder J.T. Galloway. Devine (two goals) and Morrissette then struck in a span of just over two minutes as the Warriors began to take the momentum.
Junior Josh Dubinsky (Woodstock) won 18 of 26 faceoffs Saturday against three Keene opponents and 39 of 54 (72.2 percent) in two matches this season against Keene. Sullinger led the Warriors with six points (four assists) and Leone (four assists) and Morrissette (four goals) added five points each. Dubinsky had 15 ground balls and the Warriors survived eight more turnover s than the Owls.
Leser stopped nine Eastern shots, with junior attack Taylor Jette scoring four goals on 12 shots and Schairer two on 11 attempts. Jette scored three of his goals in the first 26 minutes but only one the rest of the way, that coming with his team down by four with five minutes left. Jette and Schairer have combined for 88 of their team's goals, with senior midfielder Ian Hart adding 33 (Hart scored once on ten shots Saturday).
Twenty-one of Keene's shots were wide of the goal.
Eastern qualifies for the NCAA Division III Tournament -- its seventh in the last 12 years, which gets underway Wednesday.