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MAC Championship Round 3: Mercyhurst University 15, Connecticut College 11 Cress Supplies Five Scores for Camels

MAC Championship Round 3: Mercyhurst University  15, Connecticut College 11 Cress Supplies Five Scores for Camels

LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Mercyhurst University and Connecticut College met for the third time with the Lakers winning the season series by a 2-1 count as the squad topped the Camels, 15-11, in the Seventh Place game of the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC) Championship tournament hosted by Bucknell University at Kinney Natatorium.

Following a 14-13 overtime regular season loss against the Camels at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pa., on October 15, Mercyhurst took down Connecticut in the MAWPC-West Region Championship title game by an 11-8 count in Erie, Pa., on November 6, prior to today's Seventh Place game victory.

The Lakers fell behind early as Stephan Cress (Jr., Rockford, Mich./Rockford) put Connecticut on the board with 6:34 left in the opening quarter.  Jack Howe (Sr., Thousand Oaks, Calif./Crespit Carmelite) answered at 4:21 to knot the score, but the Camels humped down the pool to converted on a power-play chance at 3:46 to go back in front at 2-1. 

Mercyhurst knotted the score once again at 3:20 via a man-up volley by Otis Tyson (So., Newark, N.J./St. Benedict's), but  Connecticut closed out the first quarter with back-to-back-to-back blasts by Cress on a five-meter penalty shot (3:04) and consecutive natural strikes (1:46, 1:05) to grab a 5-2 lead through eight minutes of action.

Howe trimmed the Lakers' deficit back to a pair at 5-3 by denting the twine at 7:36 of the second quarter, but Dylan Pinckert (Jr., Long Beach, Calif./Loyola) got the goal back for the Camels 21 seconds later at 7:15 to build Connecticut's lead back to three at 6-3.  Matt Bachler (So., Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) sliced the lead down to a pair prior to the halftime horn by zinging a shot past Connecticut goalie Matthew Wagman (Jr., Atlanta, Georgia/Willison Northampton) with 1:04 glowing on the clock to put the Lakers within striking distance at 6-4.

In the second half, the Lakers took control of the game by outscoring the Camels 11-5 to overcome Connecticut's two-goal halftime lead on the way to a four-score victory.

Joey Ryan (Sr., Winnetka, Ill./New Trier) opened the third quarter by snapping off a man-up score 39 seconds into the second half to move Mercyhurst within one at 6-5.  Connecticut then racked up consecutive natural tallies by Isaih Porter (Jr., La Jolla, Calif./La Jolla) and Henry McMillan (Sr., Chapel Hill, N.C./Choate Rosemary Hall) at 4:10 and 3:42 prior to Cress caressing in his fifth and final score of the morning at 2:50 courtesy a man-up chance to give Connecticut a commanding 9-5 lead.

However, the margin would barely hold up through the conclusion of the third quarter as Philip Jenny (So., Lawrenceville, Georgia/Collins Hill) and Bachler unleashed lasers at 2:32 and 1:35 to close the gap between the programs to 9-7.

McMillan countered at 1:15 to inflate the Camels' margin to three at 10-7, but Connor Schmitz (So., Schaumburg, Ill./James B. Conant) and Howe hurled in factors at 1:01 and 40 seconds, respectively, to pull Mercyhurst within one at 10-9 entering the fourth quarter.

The back-to-back scores by Schmitz and Howe were the turning point of the game as Ryan and Schmitz torqued in man-up tallies with 7:09 and 4:43, respectively, on the clock and Jenny jammed in an even-strength opportunity at 4:03 to place the Lakers in front at 12-10.

Carlos Heros (Sr., Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) attemped to reinvigorate his squad's offense by uncorking an advantage strike at 3:37 to put the Camels on the cusp of tying Mercyhurst at 12-11, but Bachler (2:58, even-strength) and Jenny (2:14, man-up; 1:09, even-strength) terminated Connecticut's hopes by ticking off back-to-back-to-back goals in the closing three minutes for the 15-11 final.

For Connecticut, Cress led the way with five goals while McMillan added a pair.  Heros, Kelso, Pinckert and Porter each accounted for single scores, while Wagman suffered the loss with five saves.

Jenny keyed the Lakers' attack with four goals, while Bachler and Howe both added hat-tricks in the winning effort.  Schmitz and Ryan slammed in pairs and Tyson tossed in a solo strike to account for the remainder of Mercyhurst's offense.

In cage, Player of the Game Andrew Too-A-Foo (Sr., Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago/Fatima College) made eight saves to pick up the win.

1 2 3 4 -- Final
Connecticut College (11-18, 6-3 MAWPC-West)
-- 11
Mercyhurst University (14-13, 7-2 MAWPC-West)
-- 15

Mercyhurst Goals: Philip Jenny (4); Matt Bachler (3); Jack Howe (3); Connor Schmitz (2); Joey Ryan (2); Otis Tyson

Connecticut Goals: Stephan Cress (5); Henry McMillan (2); Carlos Heros; Aidan Kelso; Dylan Pinckert; Isaih Porter

Saves: Mercyhurst - Andrew Too-A-Foo (8) ; Connecticut - Matthew Wagman (5)

Exclusions: Mercyhurst - 8 ; Connecticut - 10

Advantage Opportunities: Mercyhurst - 5-for-10 ; Connecticut - 4-for-8

Sprints: Mercyhurst - 4-for-4 ; Connecticut - 0-for-4

Cards: None

Misconducts: None

Officials: Alex Stankevitch, Jamie Wolff