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Skidmore holds off men's lax for 12-11 Morgan's Game win

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Skidmore College came back from a 9-4 deficit to defeat the Bates College men's lacrosse team 12-11 on Sunday at Harvard University, in the second annual "Morgan's Game" honoring the memory of Morgan McDuffee '02.

It was the season opener for Bates (0-1), after the Bobcats' game Keene State scheduled for last Wednesday was postponed a month. The Thoroughbreds raise their record to 1-1.

Kevin Mulvey scored three goals, including the go-ahead score that put Skidmore ahead for good at 10-9. Jon Hoeg scored two goals with three assists, and Mike Perlow, JP Sullivan and Matt Ohara all scored two goals apiece as well. Bryan Connolly added a goal and two assists.

Matt Diaco was credited with six saves in earning the victory in goal.

Senior Rob Highland (Yarmouth, Maine) led Bates with three unassisted goals and sophomore Jack Allard added two scores, while senior Dan Hines (Manchester, Mass.) handed out three assists. Sophomore Nick Ford (Columbus, Ohio) contributed a goal and two assists. Senior Paul Donovan (Norwell, Mass.) led Bates with six ground balls, and junior Charlie Kazarian (Providence, R.I.) stopped 12 shots on goal for the Bobcats.

McDuffee, who played for Bates under current head coach Peter Lasagna and alongside Skidmore head coach Jack Sander '02, died on March 3, 2002 while breaking up a fight in Lewiston. The first Morgan's Game between the Bobcats and the Thoroughbreds, played a year ago at Tufts, Skidmore came away a 14-10 winner. The game is also held as a fundraiser for Morgan’s Fund, which supports nonviolent conflict resolution for at-risk youths, and MetroLacrosse, which offers playing opportunities for Boston-area children.

Bates trailed 3-2 late in the first quarter, when Ford assisted first-year Charlie Hildebrand (Berwyn, Pa.) with seven seconds remaining in the quarter, starting a run of five unanswered goals by the Bobcats, including a man-down score by sophomore Jack Strain (Montclair, N.J.), also assisted by Ford. Mike Perlow ended the run to make it 7-4, but sophomore Conor Henrie (Lexington, Mass.) and Allard both scored on Hines assists in a 58-second span to make it 9-4 in Bates' favor with 4:15 left in the second quarter.

Skidmore's JP Sullivan netted his first goal of the game with 1:49 left in the half, and Matt Ohara scored his first of the year with 50 seconds left to close the gap to 9-6 at the break.

Skidmore extended its scoring run through the third quarter and into the fourth. Sullivan evened the game at 9-9 with 5:13 left in the third quarter. The teams played over six minutes with the stalemate before Mulvey scored on a feed by Bryan Connolly with 13:46 left in the fourth quarter, giving Skidmore its first lead since 3-2. Mulvey and Connolly added insurance goals the Thoroughbreds would need at the 11:28 and 7:54 marks for a 12-9 lead, completing their run of eight unanswered goals.

Highland answered 47 seconds after Connolly's tally to bring Bates back within two, at 12-10, and with 5:16 to go senior captain Torben Noto (Portland, Ore.) forced a turnover then assisted Allard's second goal to close the gap to 12-11.

Bates forced another turnover to get the last possession of the game, and the Bobcats had four great chances to tie it in the final 52 seconds. Highland, Strain and Allard all saw shots just miss, and the final shot by junior Will Gilkeson (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) came within inches of forcing overtime.

Bates will open NESCAC and home play next weekend, as Middlebury visits Saturday at 1pm and Amherst visits Sunday at 2pm.