Bulldogs advance to NCAA Tournament

MIAA tournament champion Bulldogs
MIAA tournament champion Bulldogs

ADRIAN, Mich.  – The Adrian College men's lacrosse team captured the first Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association lacrosse tournament championship by beating visiting Albion College, 12-10, Saturday afternoon at Multi-Sport Performance Stadium.

Tom Thielman matched his MIAA regular-season goal total with five goals on the afternoon to pace the Bulldogs, who never trailed in the contest.

The game was decided by Adrian's fast start and their dominance in the faceoff circle where they went 18-for-26.

Thielman got his first goal of the afternoon just 15 seconds into the contest to give Adrian an early lead. Less than three minutes later he made it 2-0.

John Hudzinski put the Bulldogs up 3-0 about midway through the first quarter. Albion called a timeout to regroup and about one minute after resuming play they got on the board.

MIAA leading-scorer Cody Kilcoyne scored his first of two with about five minutes left in the first quarter.

Thielman would then score his third of the game with 81 seconds left in the first quarter to stake the Bulldogs to a 5-1 lead.

Kilcoyne started the second-quarter scoring about four minutes in before Albion would answer with the next two goals in a 70-second span to cut Adrian's lead to 6-3.

The Bulldogs would finish the first half with the next three goals by Colton Brunk, Mitch Burgin, and Hudzinski for a 9-3 lead at the half.

Midway through the third quarter, Thielman netted his fourth of the game for a comfortable 10-4 lead. It was Adrian's second six-goal lead of the game.

Thielman would score his fifth of the day with 14 seconds left to make it 11-6 after three quarters.

Kilcoyne's third of the game all but killed the Albion comeback. The Brits were applying heavy pressure when Jeff Ulfig scooped up an important groundball to send Kilcoyne almost the length of the field to net his 50th goal of the season with 2:41 left in the fourth to essentially end Albion's late aspirations.

Adrian goalkeeper Kevin Lerg made eight saves in the win and the Bulldogs held the edge in total shots, 33-30.

The Bulldogs had the edge in groundballs, 30-26, and converted three more clears than Albion with 15.

Albion and Adrian met the previous week in both team's season finales with both teams entering the contest with undefeated conference records and the MIAA regular-season title on the line. Albion led by a goal entering the fourth quarter but an Adrian rally led to a 10-8 victory last Saturday.

This was the fourth meeting between the two teams with Adrian winning them all.

After spending the previous three seasons in the Midwest Lacrosse Conference and including this year's MIAA participation, Adrian has a combined 35-0 record in any conference competition including playoffs.

The Bulldogs will now advance to the NCAA tournament with an automatic bid as the MIAA playoff champions. The selection show will be Sunday at 10 p.m. on NCAA.com (http://www.ncaa.com/liveschedule/2013/05/05). They currently have an eight-game win streak entering the NCAA Tournament.