Peter Latulippe saved 17 shots and the Spartans were able to fend off the Mount Ida Mustangs, 15-13 in their men’s lacrosse home opener last weekend.
The Mustangs were able to get within one, 14-13, with just over five minutes to play when Chad Coelho took his time behind the net, then hit a cutting Wyatt Sullivan who bounced the shot past Latulippe.
Coelho had an opportunity to tie it with just minutes left, but Latulippe saved the shot from point blank range as Coelho came around the crease.
Mount Ida midfielder Jon Berry scored a game-high six goals on nine shots, while also adding two assists and Alex Zito dominated the X for Mount Ida, winning 20 out of 29 face-offs.
The Mustangs maintained possession for the majority of the half, but had trouble converting because of some bad luck, hitting two posts in the first quarter.
“When they’re ragging it around, as long as they aren’t actively attacking the net it doesn’t matter. If they’re taking shots we’ve just got to back them up,” Latulippe said.
Discipline in the offensive end is a key aspect for the Spartans according to coach Bo McDougal.
“We don’t care how long we have the ball, as long as we are efficient when we have it,” McDougal said
The Spartans capitalized when they had the chance and jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first quarter. But Mount Ida answered with a flurry of three goals late in the same period after Latulippe was called for an illegal body check and replaced by Romello Lindsey for the one-minute penalty.
The Mustangs continued their momentum in the second. Berry scored twice, completing his hat trick and claiming the lead for Mount Ida, 5-4.
“He had some power on his shot and he could stretch our defense. We’re going to play teams that are going to have guys that can do that and it was good to see what we need to do and adjust to fix that,” Latulippe said.
But freshman Malik Hines made sure the Spartans weren’t behind for long. Just 30 seconds later, the defenseman caught the clear pass, ran down the length of the field and fired a shot from 30 feet out that beat Hayward for his first career goal and tied the game, 5-5.
“He sent it for the boys, to say the least,” said defenseman Mack O’Connell on his teammates goal.
Hines’ goal ignited the Spartans on a 7-1 scoring run, pushing the score to 11-6 halfway into the third quarter.
The Mustangs were able to get within one late in the fourth, but aggressive defense from the Spartans and clutch goaltending from Latulippe sealed the victory.
“When he makes those saves you feel relieved almost, especially the ones up on the crease. When he comes up with those balls it reignites a fire and you keep going,” O’Connell said.
This is the first meeting between programs since the 2010 North Atlantic Conference Championship, when Castleton won 11-5 to claim its first NAC Championship in school history. Mount Ida switched conferences the following year.
“We have some amazing wars against Castleton,” said Mount Ida coach Andrew Fink.
The two teams met in seven consecutive NAC title games between 2004 and 2010. The Mustangs won six of the seven contests before losing their last meeting in 2010.
“Consistently for seven years, this was life, Mount Ida vs. Castleton,” Fink said.
Mount Ida falls to 3-3 while Castleton improves to 2-3. The Spartans will face conference opponent Thomas College at 1 p.m. on March 26 at Spartan Stadium.