UPDATE: Endicott topped Western New England, 13-12, thanks to a late-game push and a pair of four-goal scoring runs. Nick Pinciaro scored four goals to lead the Gulls efforts.
The two now sit tied atop the CCC at 7-1 with Endicott getting the No. 1 seed in the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament. WNE will have a first-round bye, however.
The world of Division III Men’s Lacrosse is a tough one to comprehend. There are hundreds upon hundreds of schools that compete for 16 spots in the postseason where they will collide with either Salisbury (Md.) or Cortland State and likely come out worse for wear. However, the excitement of the tournament is ever present in the conference tournaments and Wednesday will feature a battle for one of the North region’s most hotly contested conferences.
Western New England and Endicott sit atop the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) and will have their only regular season meeting Wednesday night in Springfield with the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament on the line. WNE enters the top dog with an unblemished 7-0 record in the CCC while Endicott is 6-1 and sits in second.
In short, the winner of the CCC will come out of Wednesday’s matchup on Wilbraham Road.
The matchup on Wednesday is also significant in terms of the aforementioned NCAA Tournament. WNE is currently ranked No. 13 in the North Region and a loss to unranked Endicott would likely knock them out of the top 14. The Golden Bears are battle tested, however, and a loss to Endicott may not end their bid for an at-large bid should they fall in the conference tournament.
WNE’s 9-5 record, much like that their neighbors (and my alma mater) Springfield College, is decieving. WNE has lost to SC, No.4 Stevenson, No. 3 RIT, No. 1 Cortland and No. 9 Tufts with each team likely to make the tournament and make some noise once they get there.
Endicott’s case isn’t quite as strong although they have taken on their share of top-tier teams this season. The Gulls have losses to No. 11 Stevens, RIT, Bowdoin, St. John Fisher and, in their lone CCC loss, University of New England.
It will be on the Golden Bears to slow down Nick Pinciaro, whose 42 points (25 goals, 17 assists) are good for seventh in the CCC. Kyle Weber, the team’s leading goal scorer with 31, will also be a focus of WNE’s defense and goaltender Brandon Body.
Endicott will not have to deal with the same individual firepower, but WNE’s offense is just as potent with six players topping 20 points this season. Adam Knapton’s 37 points (16 goals, 21 assists) lead the way while Corbett Corrigan Harreys is the team’s leading finisher with 21 goals on the season.
Both Body and Endicott’s Cameron Bell are among the best keepers in the league, posting 9.30 and 9.20 goals against averages, respectively.
The game will tip tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Western New England and Live Stats can be found on Western New England’s Athletic Site