Bart Aldridge scored three goals and had an assist en route to capturing Most Valuable Player honors as Lax World defeated Westchester/Beck & Wheatley, 16-14, for the Central Atlantic Lacrosse League title last night at Norris Field.
Westchester, the defending CALL champion, jumped to a 3-1 lead when Michael Hoynes fed fellow West Point graduate Rob Betchley with 5:53 left in the first quarter.
But Lax World's Tom Gravante, a former Hobart star who coaches Mount St. Mary's, scored the last goal of the first quarter and the first of the second as Lax World ran off five straight goals to build a 6-3 lead with 2:13 left in the first half.
Betchley scored off a feed from Dan Connolly (Towson State) with 52 seconds left in the half to bring Westchester within 6-4, but Scott Plasse (N.C. State) scored unassisted with 10 seconds left to push Lax World's lead back to three at halftime.
In the third quarter, Westchester pulled within two goals three times as Betchley scored three times in the period. But two goals apiece by Tim Parks (C. Milton Wright) and Aldridge (Delaware, Loyola High) enabled Lax World to go into the final quarter with a 12-9 lead.
The opening minutes of the fourth quarter belonged to Lax World, as goals by Aldridge, Jamie Smith (Cornell) and Towson State's Lou Delligatti, who scored one-handed behind his back, gave Lax World its largest lead of the game at 15-10 with 10:38 left.
Betchley scored Westchester's last two goals to bring his team to within two goals with 1:18 left, but Lax World killed the remaining time to take the title.
Betchley finished with a game-high seven goals and Joe Calarusso (Farmingdale) had four assists for Westchester. Connolly finished with two goals and two assists.
Gravante led Lax World with four goals.
Both goalies kept busy: Lax World's Dave Slomkowski (Washington College) made 23 saves and Westchester's Jim Gilman (Rutgers) made 19.
Westchester ..3 ..1 ..5 ..5 ..-- ..14
Lax World .. .2 ..5 ..5 ..4 ..-- ..16