ROUND ROCK, Texas – The first round of the 2023 MCLA National Championships presented by New Balance is in the books and we already have an upset.
No. 13 Air Force (11-1) broke a 14-14 tie in the closing moments of the game with a pair of goals to pull off a stunner over No. 4 Montana (17-3), 16-14. The game was tight the entirety of the game with the two squads locked at fours after one and then the Falcons holding a narrow, 9-8 margin at halftime.
The Grizzlies roared back in the third quarter for a 13-12 edge with just a quarter to play, setting up Air Force’s late-game heroics. Jacob Freeman got the game-winning goal for the Falcons with Benjamin Morfit providing the insurance tally.
Morfit and Mark Tang were each credited with four goals and an assist in the win. Miles Hess had four goals and a dime in the losing effort for Montana.
No. 1 Rhode Island (15-1) d. No. 16 North Dakota State (5-7), 20-8
Keegan Reilly scored nine goals – the third most in Division II history – while Kennedy Heath chipped in with a hat trick as top-seeded Rhode Island breezed into the quarterfinals with a 20-8 triumph over No. 16 North Dakota State.
The game was relatively close at the beginning with the Rams holding just a 4-2 lead after 15 minutes, but the lead ballooned to 9-2 at the break. An eight-goal third put the contest away.
Hunter Billings had 10 saves for Rhode Island while a pair of goalies combed for 13 stops for North Dakota State. Cooper Eidem led the Bison with two goals.
No. 2 Cal State San Marcos (15-1) d. No. 15 Minn.-Duluth (5-8), 11-6
Brandon Donatelli netted a hat trick and Kobe Jones added a pair of goals leading second-seeded Cal State San Marcos to an 11-6 victory over No. 15 Minn.-Duluth.
Goals were at a premium all afternoon and the Cougars always came up with a big one to stave off any attempts by the Bulldogs.
Easton Bates had 10 saves for San Marcos while Kyle Ehrlichman posted 11 stops for Duluth.
No. 3 St. Thomas (12-2) d. No. 14 Florida Atlantic (5-7), 13-8
Third-seeded St. Thomas fell behind 3-1 to start the game against No. 14 Florida Atlantic, but Tommies outscored the Owls, 8-2, over the next two quarter to pull away for the five-point win.
Garret Hoch had four goals in the winning effort while Cabe Maskevich chipped in with a pair of goal and three assists. Gunner Arens finished with 14 saves.
Seven different scorers accounted for Florida Atlantic’s eight goals, led by a pair from Patrick Cerasuolo. Nicholas Meola had 14 saves for the Owls.