Worcester, Mass. – Nick Johnson (Amherst, Mass.) erupted for six goals – singlehandedly outscoring MIT himself – and second-seeded Clark University raced past the Engineers 13-5 in a New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) lacrosse semifinal on a chilly Wednesday evening.
Clark, playing in just its second-ever postseason contest, will now advance to the conference championship against top-seeded Springfield College on Saturday afternoon at 5:00 p.m.
Score: Clark University 13, MIT 5
Records: Clark University 13-4, MIT 10-6
Location: Granger Turf Field, Worcester, Mass.
How It Happened:
Clark wasted little time getting on the board as Johnson took a feed from Will Mandracchia (Melrose, Mass.) and found the back of the net less than four minutes into the contest.
The Engineers actually answered back relatively quickly as Harris Stolzenberg (Weston, Fla.) connected with Mitch Turley (Westfield, Ind.) less than a minute later.
With the score knotted at 1-1, the Cougars would go on to score the next five goals to take control of the game.
It all began with Mandracchia giving the Scarlet and White a 2-1 lead before the second quarter began. Johnson registered two unassisted strikes early in the period and then Brandon King (Eastham, Mass.) added another, sending the Cougars into halftime ahead 5-1. King's marker was his 40th of the season – becoming just the fourth player in school history to reach that total.
After King's tally with 11:29 left in the second, neither team dented the scoreboard until King netted another less than a minute into the third period, giving the Cougars a 6-1 advantage.
MIT ended its near 30 minute scoring drought with a trio of scores from freshman sensation Jack Strachan (Moresville, N.C.) to close the gap. First, he recorded an unassisted marker with 11:49 left in the quarter and then Stolzenberg set him up for another less than three minutes later.
Things could have gotten much tighter when Clark was flagged for a cross check to the head which resulted in a two-minute penalty but the Cougars were able to hold the Engineers scoreless during that time. They did yield another score to Strachan before the period ended but Clark took advantage of an extra-man opportunity and Johnson fed Isaac Bass (Amherst, Mass.) for a blistering goal late in the period.
That Bass strike ignited a seven goal unanswered stretch for the Cougars that put the game away. Jack Pierce (Westboro, Mass.) was next and then Owen Lamerson (Greenlawn, N.Y.) scored off of a Darius Jagminas (East Greenwich, R.I.) dish, making the score, 9-4.
Clark's offensive run continued with an unassisted tally from Mandracchia and then Johnson put the game out of reach with three straight goals in a four-minute span.
Michael Traub (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) finally stopped the Cougars scoring streak when he fought his way through the Clark defense with less than a minute to play.
Inside The Boxscore:
Clark held a 34-26 edge in groundballs, led by Will Roberts (Paxton, Mass.) who scooped up a game-high eight. Meanwhile, in the cage for the Scarlet and White, Drew Riopelle-Tyrrell (Northville, Mich.) was stellar in between the pipes, turning aside 13 shots. Alexander Lynch (Roswell, Ga.) wasn't too shabby either, making 11 stops of his own for MIT.
King and Mandracchia each had two goals for Clark, while Johnson had two assists to go along with his career-high six scores.
The loss for MIT ends the coaching career of Walter Alessi who announced his retirement during the season after 43 seasons at the helm of MIT … The career of Stolzenberg also comes to a close after scoring 268 points (134 goals, 134 assists) and being named league rookie of the year back in 2014 … After dropping the first 25 games of the series with the Engineers, Clark has now won two straight … The Cougars extend their school-record win total to 13 … Johnson, who became the school's all-time assists leader on Saturday, extended his school-record point total to 212.