Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – For the first time in program history, the Whittier College Men's Lacrosse team has held the coveted Locker-Stabler Cup as they held off Colorado College 17-12 at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
This is the first time since 2011 the Locker-Stabler Cup will have a different home. The Poets were 0-6 in Cup Games since the traveling trophy was instituted. The Purple & Gold have also snapped an 11-game losing skid to Colorado College as the head-to-head series match-up against CC moves to 5-12. The most recent victory coming back on March 19, 2007 by the score of 17-6.
The Locker-Stabler Cup was instituted to honor the school's former coaches - CC's Doc Stabler and Whittier's Doug Locker - who helped bring Division III lacrosse to the West Region of the United States.
It was a great send off for the seven Poet seniors who were recognized before the game, which included Harry Kemp (Hopewell, NJ), Nick Angileri (San Jose, Calif.), Max Kaufman (West Hartford, CT), Eric O'Brien (Reading, MA), Nick Hernandez (La Mesa, Calif.), Ryan Lynch (Yorba Linda, Calif.), and Alex Hernandez (La Mesa, Calif.).
Whittier wraps up their 2017 regular season at 8-6 with wins over Notre Dame de Namur, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Southwestern (TX), Curry, Hope, Elmhurst, and now Colorado College.
These two teams met back on April 9 in Colorado Springs, CO but the Poets couldn't overcome a big third quarter by the Tigers as they fell 13-9.
The Purple & Gold put together their best game of the season as they were in desperate need of a victory to keep their postseason hopes alive. With this being said, the Poets turned their sense of urgency into an early 4-1 lead after Hernandez scored his third of his game high six goals.
Colorado College saw Brad Hale trim the deficit to 4-2 with four minutes remaining in the first quarter, but Whittier tacked on another four goals to build an 8-2 lead with 6:22 to play before halftime.
Noting the deficit was the same as last year's overtime game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, CC struck for four consecutive goals, from four different players as they pulled within 8-6. The Poets got a boost however as Jackson Draper (Steamboat Springs, CO) found the net as time expired as they regained a three goal lead heading into the break.
Evan Price (San Diego, Calif.) kept the momentum in Whittier's favor to start the second half as he connected on a man-up opportunity to extend the lead to four but again CC would answer with four unanswered, with three of them coming from Robbie Stern that deadlocked the game at 10-10.
With under 8:00 to play in the third quarter, Whittier gained the momentum back by tacking on three of their own from Billy Shaffer (Tuscon, AZ), Angileri, and Draper and would ride this into the final period as they would keep the offense rolling with another four that made it seven straight. This put the Poets up by seven with 6:13 to play, which proved enough for the win.
Colorado College had the extra possessions going 22-31 on faceoffs allowing them to hold the margin in shots at 50-26. They also led in groundballs at 39-30 and were perfect on clears at 13-13.
In goal, Alex Cramer (Rocky Hill, CT) played all 60:00 picking up the win finishing with 13 saves against 25 shots.
N. Hernandez led the offense with six goals and four assists. Draper and Ashton Pieris (Burien, WA) each added three goals apiece, while Kevin O'Donnell (Carlsbad, Calif.) picked up six groundballs. Angileri had a good stat line with a goal and an assist with four groundballs and three caused turnovers.
Whittier awaits their fate to see if their 2017 season continues or comes to close as they wait for the Division III Men's Lacrosse National Championship Selection Show, which will take place this weekend.