Worcester, Mass. – Clark University's Rob Holden (East Longmeadow, Mass.) saw his game-tying goal attempt bang off the right crossbar as time expired and visiting Skidmore College held on for a 7-6 win giving first-year head coach Pat Hart his first collegiate coaching victory in non-league men's lacrosse action on Saturday afternoon at the Granger Turf Field.
The Thoroughbreds, who had lost two of their four games by single goals, erupted for six goals in the second quarter to take a commanding 7-3 lead into halftime before holding on for the win as the Cougars used a furious fourth quarter rally to close the gap.
Clark opened up the scoring when Nick Johnson (Amherst, Mass.) netted his first mark of the game at 7:41.
Skidmore answered back as the first quarter wound down when Brock Bakewell (Tucson, Ariz.) notched his second goal of the season.
Johnson put the Cougars ahead, 2-1, when he collected his team-leading tenth tally of the year less than two minutes into the second quarter.
Richie Davis (Edgewater, Md.) evened the game a little more than a minute later when he deposited his first of the season for Skidmore.
The back-and-forth continued as Keegan Callahan (Tewksbury, Mass.) dodged a defender and whipped home a marker, making the score 3-2.
Kevin Mulvey (Westfield, N.J.) scored back-to-back goals less than 20 seconds apart on assists from Jack Livecchi (Sparta, N.J.) and Sean Fosse (New York, N.Y.) to give Skidmore the lead at 4-3, sparking a stretch of five unanswered goals in a four minute span.
Quinn Hawkins (Gladstone, N.J.) took over in the final 3:30 of the second, scoring a pair of goals and adding an assist on Thomas O'Toole's (Norwell, Mass.) man-up goal with 28 seconds left in the frame.
The third period flew by and looked like it might be a scoreless quarter until Holden got his first of the game with 23 seconds left, making the score 7-4 heading into the final 15 minutes.
A little less than four minutes into the quarter, Peter Christiansen (Seattle, Wash.) registered an unassisted marker, bringing the Cougars to within two.
Four minutes later, playing a man down after an illegal cross check penalty, Max Nyquist (Okemos, Mich.) scooped up a groundball and fed Patrick Burke (New Cannan, Conn.) at midfield, who raced into the offensive end and whipped a shot that whizzed past Thoroughbred netminder Matt Diaco (Kinnelon, N.J.) tightening the game at 7-6 with 6:53 to play.
In addition to Holden's near miss in the final minute, Clark had a shot by Callahan turned aside by Diaco to prevent the Cougar comeback.
The Scarlet and White's defense was strong all afternoon, holding Skidmore to 1-for-7 on their extra man opportunities, scoring a man-down goal and not allowing the Thoroughbreds to score in the second half. Zach Duffy (Wakefield, Mass.) had an excellent day on the backend for the hosts, forcing eight turnovers and collecting two groundballs.
For the visitors, Diaco turned back ten shots to earn the victory, while Mulvey and Hawkins each scored a pair of goals in their key second quarter run.
Clark was led offensively by Johnson (two goals), while Burke, Callahan, Christiansen and Holden all had single goals and Kevin Ranta (Beverly, Mass.) made 11 stops in net.
Skidmore returns to the field on Tuesday when they host Hamilton College. The Cougars, meanwhile, will look to return to the win column on Wednesday with a home contest against Salve Regina.
Game Notes: Johnson has at least two goals in all four games this season … Burke's man-down goal was the first score of his career … Clark is now 3-2 in all-time home openers in the Jeff Cohen era – both losses have come by 7-6 scores (Mount Ida, 2011) … Clark now has two man-down goals this season after scoring just three in all of 2013 … Clark is 0-3 all-time against Skidmore … The Cougars are 7-29 in their 36 contests under Cohen when they score less than ten goals.