Presidents Win Inaugural PAC Men's Lacrosse Championship
LATROBE, Pa. -- Senior attacker Joseph Eck (Boise, Idaho/Bishop Kelly) scored three of his game-high four goals in the second half to help Washington & Jefferson win the first-ever Presidents' Athletic Conference Men's Lacrosse Championship Saturday following a 10-8 victory over Saint Vincent at Chuck Noll Field.
On December 19, 2012, the PAC announced that men’s and women’s lacrosse will be added as official PAC sports, beginning with the 2014-15 academic year. The additions were adopted by the PAC Presidents’ Council. Unofficial conference championship tournament in both sports are taking place this spring for the first time and again in 2014.
Eck and his six senior teammates end their career as champions and also become the first W&J team to defeat Saint Vincent. The Bearcats (6-9) had won the first seven games in the series, including an 11-8 victory two weeks ago on the same field.
Saint Vincent grabbed a 4-2 lead after one quarter, but W&J drew to within 6-5 at halftime after goals in the final 1:42 by sophomore attacker Tim Angell (Andover, Mass./Governor's Academy) and Eck. Eck's tally came with three seconds left in the half and was assisted by freshman attacker Zachary Fredericks (Babylon, N.Y./Babylon).
Senior midfielder Tom Kozlowski (Glenshaw, Pa./Shaler) set up Eck for the tying goal nine seconds into the second half and Eck scored again at the 11:39 mark for the Presidents' first lead since early in the game.
Joey Lunz tied the score at seven late in the third quarter and the teams went into the final 15 minutes deadlocked.
Senior midfielder John Zustra (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North) netted the goal that put the Presidents in front for good at the 10:16 mark and Eck beat SVC goalie Adam Gunter 44 seconds later for a two-goal edge. The Bearcats trimmed the lead to one with six minutes left, but an extra-man goal by sophomore midfielder Will Wagner (Riva, Md./South River) gave W&J back its cushion. Senior goalie Ran Kirby (Cleveland, Ohio/University School) took over from that point, stopping the final two SVC shots on goal to preserve the win.
Kirby produced 16 saves overall, while Eck, the school's all-time leading scorer, totaled five points on four goals and one assist. Angell supplied three goals, while Zustra notched two goals and one assist. The Presidents earned the win despite being outshot by a 39-32 margin.
W&J finished its first season under Head Coach Dan Usaj with a 6-10 overall record. Eck closed his career with 185 points (131 goals, 54 assists), while Kirby finishes his days in a Red & Black uniform with nearly every goaltending record, including 645 career saves.