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Men's lacrosse hands No. 13 Wesleyan its first loss, 12-7

Wylie Leabo '14 scored twice and assisted on two other goals as Bates defeated No. 13 Wesleyan. (File photo)









LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates College men's lacrosse team came back from an early 4-2 deficit to take a 5-4 halftime lead, then broke away from No. 13 nationally ranked Wesleyan University for a 12-7 NESCAC win on Saturday at Garcelon Field, handing the Cardinals their first loss this season.

It is Bates' first win over a nationally ranked opponent since an 8-4 win over the then-No. 9 Cardinals in Lewiston on March 25, 2006.

Bates (3-3, 1-2 NESCAC) sophomore Gary Guinta (Bay Shore, N.Y.) scored his first four goals of the season to lead the Bates attack. First-year Wylie Leabo (Belmont, Mass.) added two goals and two assists, and first-year Will Gilkeson (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) and senior Luke Charest (Freeport, Maine) also added two goals apiece.

Junior Teddy Citrin (New Canaan, Conn.) scored three goals for the Cardinals (6-1, 2-1 NESCAC), while Max Landow scored once and added an assist. Junior goalie Grant Covington (Gloucester, Mass.) made 15 saves as Bates peppered the Wesleyan goal with 37 shots, compared to 29 shots for the Cardinals.

Bates junior goalie Adam Scharff (Glyndon, Md.) stopped five shots for the Bobcats.

Guinta netted an unassisted goal to open the scoring less than two minutes into the game, but Wesleyan answered by scoring four out of the next five goals. Landow evened the game on the first of two assists by DJ Bernatavitz, and Citrin gave Wesleyan its first lead with an unassisted tally with 9:27 left in the period. Guinta scored again on a Gilkeson feed with 7:53 left in the period, and the teams stayed tied at 2-2 for the next 13-plus minutes.

An illegal body check called on Bates first-year Paul Troiano (Winchester, Mass.) led to a man-up goal by Graham Gnall to break the tie with 9:25 left in the second quarter. Wesleyan won the ensuing faceoff and less than a minute later, the Cardinals went up 4-2 on an unassisted tally by junior John Froats (Yorktown, N.Y.).

Bates won the next faceoff, however, and a minute later Guinta scored his third goal of the game on an assist by Leabo. The Bobcats evened the score at 4-4 with 5:52 to go in the half, on an exceptional one-man drive and shot by Bates senior Rory Cosgrove (Pittsburgh, Pa.).

Bates got its third straight goal with 3:34 to go on an exciting fast-break play that started with Bates sophomore defender Charlie Clark's (Pepper Pike, Ohio) ground ball pickup in the Bates end. Two quick upfield passes put the ball in Leabo's stick, and the freshman dished to Charest for the finish, bringing the chilled but hearty Bates fans to their feet. Bates kept its 5-4 lead until intermission.

The Bobcats couldn't have asked for a better beginning to the second half, scoring three straight in the opening four minutes to extend their scoring run to six in a row. Gilkeson scored unassisted off the opening faceoff of the quarter, his fifth of the season, at 13:46. Bates junior Reed Brown (Portsmouth, N.H.), who played immensely with eight ground balls, won the ground ball off the ensuing faceoff and, while getting checked by a Cardinal, flipped the ball underhanded to Guinta, who finished off the play for a 7-4 lead with 13:34 left. Two minutes later, Leabo scored his first goal of the game and his third of the season for an 8-4 Bates edge.

The Cardinals crept back with two straight, beginning with a man-up goal by Citrin. After Covington stopped another Guinta attempt, Wesleyan cleared and closed the gap to 8-6 on a goal by senior Conor Malangone (Lake Grove, N.Y.) with 5:05 left in the third. The teams then traded quick scores over the next 28 seconds: Bates sophomore defender Andrew Berry (Westwood, Mass.) tallied his first goal of the season at 4:44, but that was immediately answered by Citrin's third goal of the game and 15th of the season at 4:37, making it 9-7. Gilkeson gave Bates more breathing room heading into the final quarter with an unassisted tally with 3:03 left.

The fourth quarter went all Bates' way, with the Bobcats able to kill time off the clock while adding two scores to their lead, one on a spectacular individual move by Leabo with 6:52 to go, and the second by Charest with 3:36 left in the game.

Clark and junior Kevin Helm (Norwell, Mass.) led a strong defensive effort by the Bobcats, with four and five ground balls, respectively.

Bates next plays a non-conference game against Southern Maine on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Memorial Field in Portland.

Stats and Play by Play: Bates 12, Wesleyan 7