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Castleton Spartans

Russell Scores OT Winner as Men's Lacrosse Downs Warriors

Russell Scores OT Winner as Men's Lacrosse Downs Warriors

CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University men's lacrosse team won an overtime thriller on Saturday afternoon at Dave Wolk Stadium, as Cameron Russell's late-game heroics lifted the Spartans to an 11-10 victory over Eastern Connecticut State University.

For the second game in a row, Russell notched the game-winning goal—this time scoring 37 seconds into overtime to seal the victory for the Spartans (4-7, 2-2 LEC). He finished the day with three goals, while Tom Pardew and Jason Sedell also added hat tricks for the Spartans. Kyle Lutinski had a pair of assists for Castleton. Luc Issa racked up nine ground balls, with Sedell and Wyatt Pickrell each causing three turnovers on defense. Brandon Myron stopped eight shots in goal, including three big saves in the fourth quarter to keep the game within reach.

Matthew Rougeot had four scores for the Warriors (3-6, 1-2 LEC), while Jake Liebowitz added two goals and an assist and Anthony Choronzy had a goal and two assists. Jack Lombardo had four ground balls on the day, while Kyle Cardoza and Trevor Ross had three apiece. Jack Farrell took the loss in goal, stopping 12 shots in the contest while allowing 11 scores.

Castleton held a 41-33 edge in total shots on the day, including a 23-18 edge in shots on goal, as well as a 31-25 advantage in ground balls. Eastern Connecticut State was 18-of-21 on clears, with Castleton converting 15-of-19. Neither team scored on a man-up opportunity, though Castleton scored once while playing a man down. Face-offs were nearly even, with ECSU holding a 12-11 edge, and Castleton committed 12 turnovers—their second-fewest in a game this year—while the Warriors turned it over 16 times.

The Spartans continued their fourth-quarter dominance on Saturday, outscoring Eastern Connecticut 5-1 in the final 15 minutes of regulation. Castleton has outscored opponents 25-12 in the fourth quarter this season. Trailing 9-5 entering the final quarter after a buzzer-beating goal by the Warriors to end the third, Castleton rattled off five unanswered goals to open the frame and take the lead. Pardew scored 1:17 into the fourth, before Sedell rattled off three goals in a span of 64 seconds for the Spartans to knot the game up, 9-9. Playing a man down, Colin Clark gave the Spartans a 10-9 edge on an assist from Adnane Adossama with 9:47 to go, but Rougeot drew ECSU even with 5:20 to play to force overtime.

After an empty possession by the Warriors to start overtime, Issa came up with a ground ball and dropped it back to Jason Venezia. Venezia looked downfield for Russell, and connected with him in stride. Russell carried the ball in on goal, bouncing a shot past Farrell to lift Castleton to victory.

Castleton fell behind quickly and was unable to recover until the fourth quarter, as Eastern scored twice in a one minute span in the first quarter to go up 2-0 behind goals from Garrett Lapham and Rougeot. Connor Rider made it a 2-1 game before the end of the frame, but the Warriors pulled ahead 3-1 in the second quarter behind a goal from Brett Chin. Russell brought it back to 3-2 before the half, scoring unassisted with 4:02 to play before the break.

Eastern extended its lead to 4-2 shortly into the third quarter, as Rougeot got his second of the day. Pardew and Russell then scored back-to-back in a 45-second span, drawing Castleton even for the first time since the opening minutes. The Warriors persevered, netting four straight goals to go ahead 8-4 and wipe away the Spartans' momentum. After Pardew notched his second goal of the game to stop the run, Liebowitz caught a pass from Choronzy in front and let go a shot that hit the back of the net just a fraction of a second before the horn at the end of the period, pushing the Warriors' advantage back to four goals heading to the final 15.

Castleton regained its momentum with ease, scoring all five of its fourth-quarter goals over the opening five-plus minutes of the frame to take the lead before eventually winning in overtime.

The Spartans return to action on Tuesday evening against Keene State. Game time is slated for 7 p.m. at Dave Wolk Stadium.