Wesleyan University's men's lacrosse team won its first-ever NCAA Division III championship on Sunday, aided by the efforts of several former high school standouts from the area.
The Cardinals, playing in their first-ever title game, defeated two-time defending national champion Salisbury 8-6 in Foxborough, Mass.
Salisbury was looking for its 13th national championship.
Wesleyan jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the first quarter as the Cardinals capitalized on several big offensive opportunities while shutting down Salisbury with a zone defense. Salisbury then answered with a run of its own, pulling within 4-3. Wesleyan led 5-3 at the half. Wesleyan extended the lead to 8-4 after three quarters.
Former New Canaan High School star Harry Stanton and former Massapequa HS standout Carter Hawthorne each had two goals and an assist for the Cardinals (19-3). Taylor Ghesquiere had two goals. Cole Turpin, another New Canaan HS product, had one assist for Wesleyan.
Four Wesleyan players from Westchester -- midfielder Eric Meyreles of Yorktown, longstick midfielders Chad Malinowski of Cortlandt Manor and Ben Shively of Bronxville and defenseman Colin Malarchuk of Briarcliff Manor -- all had strong games on defense. Malinowski, who had three groundballs, is a graduate of The Hackley School, Shively of the Westminster School and Malarchuk of Fordham Prep.
Stanton, Ghesquiere, Turpin, Meyreles, Shively, defenseman Andres Rodriguez and goalie Otto Bohan (11 saves) are among Wesleyan's 15 seniors who were unable to attend graduation ceremonies on campus Sunday morning. A special graduation ceremony was held for the graduating members of the lacrosse team last week.
Former Joel Barlow High School standout Zach Pompea, a junior midfielder, had two goals and one assist for Salisbury. His second goal pulled Salisbury within 8-6 with 5:37 remaining.
Wesleyan, guided by 22nd-year head coach John Raba, advanced to the title game by upsetting top-ranked and previously unbeaten RIT 19-18 in the semifinals.
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