Key saves in the final minutes by sophomore goalie Sean Aaron and clutch scoring by sophomore attack Ted McKenna lifted Union to a thrilling 7-6 men’s lacrosse victory over Williams Wednesday night at Frank Bailey Field.
Aaron, who made 13 saves, was spectacular all evening. He stoned the Ephmen three times in the opening period and came up huge in the final session with four saves. Aaron initially kept the Dutchmen in the game when Williams had a brief lead, and then preserved Union’s eighth win in 10 decisions.
McKenna, who scored three times, connected for the game-winner with 6:51 left on a man-down situation. He rifled a 20-yard shot past Williams senior keeper
That put the pressure back on the Union defense, which kept the Ephmen off the board for the final six minutes.
Williams called a timeout with 56 seconds left to set up its offense, but the Ephmen couldn’t break through against Aaron. Sam Kenyon, a junior defenseman, sealed the win when he picked off a Williams pass with 10 seconds remaining.
“I didn’t think there was that much pressure on me at all in the last couple of minutes, because I have a lot of confidence in my defense,” said Aaron. “They make it easy on me. This is the kind of game you dream about: Union vs. Williams, two great academic schools playing in the final minute with the game on the line.
“This was a big game, but we’ve got a lot more to play for the rest of the way. Our goal is to win the Liberty League and go to the NCAAs.”
McKenna, who leads the Dutchmen with 19 goals, said the Dutchmen might have lost some concentration after a strong opening period.
“We got off to a great start by scoring the first four goals. Then, I think we let up a little bit, and we let Williams get comfortable,” he said. “But Sean was his usual brilliant self, and our defense played very well all night. I think we really stepped up tonight.”
Senior midfielder Charles Hovespian scored the only goal of the first period on a coast-to-coast rush following a Williams turnover.
The Dutchmen then tacked on three more goals in the second period. Leading scorer Brendan Kinnane tallied on a spinning shot in front, McKenna scored on a man-up situation and Robert Young connected on a transition goal with 5:54 left in the first half.
But Williams, guided by former Union head coach George McCormack, erupted for three straight goals to climb within 4-3 at halftime.
The Ephmen, led by Mike Ryan’s pair of goals, eventually took a
6-5 edge into the final period, but senior Andrew Higgins tallied on a rebound to knot the score with 9:41 remaining.
“Williams is a quality team, and we knew they weren’t going to give up after falling behind, 4-0,” said Union head coach Paul Wehrum. “Sean was seeing the ball very clearly tonight, and he made some quality saves. We think he’s an All-America goalie.”
Williams 0 3 3 0 — 6
Union 1 3 1 2 — 7
Williams scoring: Mike Ryan 2-1, Bryan Wrapp 1-1, Tim Goggins 1-1, Richard Reuter 1-0, Adam Benjamin 1-0, Sam Hargrove 0-1. Union scoring: Ted McKenna 3-0, Brendan Kinnane 1-1, Andrew Higgins 1-0, Charles Hovespian 1-0, Robert Young 1-0, Scott Garibaldi 0-1, Ian Hunter 0-1, Sam Kenyon 0-1.
Goalies: Williams, Stephen Vrla, 9 saves; Union, Sean Aaron, 13 saves.
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