For the third straight year the SM East’s lacrosse team can call themselves champions. With a 10-6 win over Pembroke Friday night, the Lancers finished their season on a six-game win streak and remain the only team to ever hoist the LAKC Trophy.
Thanks to five goals by sophomore Nick Bailey and an inspired effort fueled by the loss of fellow student Tyler Rathbun earlier this year, SM East took down Pembroke for the second straight year in the finals.
“I told my team that we had one extra player tonight,” Connor McGannon said, who who led the team out of the locker room holding a shirt with the number 14 in honor of Rathbun.
That inspired effort led to an East win that avenged a 8-4 loss to Pembroke earlier in the year, and another title.
“We lost to them bad last time we played them and we’re missing some key players, but we knew we could do it,” said senior James Simmons, who sported the letters “T” on his left cheek and “Y” on his right written in eye black in honor of Rathbun. “After we beat Rockhurst, there was no stopping us.”
Both teams came out flat in the first quarter, scoring just one goal each. Bailey put the Lancers up 1-0 with 3:20 left in the first and Pembroke’s Ben Gallager tied the score two minutes later.
The second quarter didn’t see many scoring goals either, though both teams were getting plenty of looks. Pembroke’s Charlie Mueller took Pembroke up 3-1 with 4:37 remaining, but Nic Bailey scored two quick goals in the matter of six seconds to tie the game up at three going into halftime.
“(Nic) was huge,” Simmons said. “Ever since the start of the playoffs he’s been going hard, he’s really turned it on. Nobody can stop him when he tries to turn the corner.”
After Bailey’s two goals, momentum swung in SM East’s favor, and thirty seconds into the third quarter, Johnathan Aliber put the Lancer’s ahead 4-3.
“We just rolled them from there,” said Conner McGannon, who scored late in the third quarter.
Both offenses seemed to find their groove in the third. Aliber found the net again in the third, giving East a 6-3 lead.
The lead would eventually become 8-5 going into the fourth, where Bailey scored again, along with Simmons, finishing the game with a 10-6 win.
The Lancers won the tournament as a four-seed, beating out top-seeded Rockhurst and second-seeded Pembroke (15-3) in the final.
“To come out and play a team that just dominated us earlier in the year and beat them, it’s just crazy,” McGannon said.