No. 19 men's lacrosse can't hold halftime lead in 13-11 loss at No. 2 Wesleyan

Senior captain Burke Smith scored one and dished out two assists on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at Wesleyan. (File photo by Steve McLaughlin/Courtesy of Wesleyan)

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The No. 2 nationally ranked Wesleyan men's lacrosse team overcame a four-goal first half deficit to defeat No. 19 Bates by a score of 13-11 on Saturday.

Cole Turpin scored the game-winner with 6:16 remaining in regulation and later assisted on an insurance goal by Ronan Jacoby with 1:43 on the clock as the Cardinals (2-1, 2-0 NESCAC) held the Bobcats (1-3, 0-2 NESCAC) to just two goals in the second half after scoring six first quarter goals.

Saturday's game was the latest thriller in an intense rivalry, in which the last four meetings have been decided by a total of five goals.

Both teams came out scoring early and often as the first quarter featured a total of 10 goals.

It took just 38 seconds for the Cardinals to get on the board as Turpin assisted on a score by Christian Barker. Roughly three minutes later, Turpin put Wesleyan ahead by two with his first goal of the game off an assist from Taylor Ghesquiere.

Bates scored its first goal at the 9:02 mark as senior captain Burke Smith (Wilton, Conn.) connected with sophomore Curtis Knapton (Westbrook, Maine) for Knapton's third goal of the season.

Wesleyan's Harry Stanton took advantage of a man-up opportunity shortly after, but the Bobcats won the ensuing faceoff and junior Eli Cooper (Glastonbury, Conn.) found senior Max Breschi (Carlisle, Pa.) for a quick goal just six seconds later.

The score jumpstarted a 5-0 run by the Bobcats as sophomore Matt Chlastawa (Westfield, Mass.) scored three consecutive goals during the stretch and assisted on a man-up goal by Smith at the 1:05 mark to cap off the run.

Barker found the back of the net during a man-up opportunity with just 21 seconds on the clock to cut the Bates lead to two entering the second quarter.

The momentum remained in Bates' favor, however, as the visitors scored two quick goals at the 14:24 and 11:12 marks to go ahead 8-4. 

Both teams exchanged the next two goals before Wesleyan closed out the half with a goal from Barker with 3:30 to play, and an unassisted marker by Carter Hawthorne with 1:21 on the clock, as the Bobcats led 9-7 at halftime.

Wesleyan's defense stepped up in the final 30 minutes of action and held Bates scoreless in the third quarter, while the Cardinals scored four goals of their own.

After a save by goalie Otto Bohan with eight seconds remaining in the third, Wesleyan went the length of the field and Hawthorne found Stanton who sent his shot to the back of the net with just 00:00.5 on the clock to give the home team an 11-9 advantage entering the fourth.

Bates scored just 10 seconds into the fourth quarter and a goal by senior Parker Strong (Wenham, Mass.) with 12:42 to play evened the game at 11-11.

However, the Cardinals prevailed and kept the Bobcats' offense from scoring the rest of the way.

Barker scored a game-high four goals while Turpin posted a game-high five points (two goals, three assists). Stanton finished with three goals and an assist, Ghesquiere and Hawthorne each finished with three assists and one goal, and Jacoby scored twice.

Bohan stopped seven of nine shots that he faced in 40:52 minutes between the pipes for his first career win.

Chlastawa led Bates with five points on four goals and one assist. Breschi dished out three assists and recorded a goal, and Knapton scored twice. Sophomore goalkeeper Rob Strain (Montclair, N.J.) made 12 saves in net.

Wesleyan was 3-5 on man-up opportunities while Bates finished 2-4. Faceoffs were fairly even with Bates holding a slight 14-27 edge, but the Bobcats turned the ball over 17 times compared to 10 by the Cardinals.

Bates takes on Western New England in a game hosted by Southern New Hampshire University this Wednesday at 5:00 p.m.