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Hughes, Murphy lead NYIT to lacrosse upset over No. 1 Adelphi

NYIT Bears' Tom Hughes and Shawn Murphy celebrate

NYIT Bears' Tom Hughes and Shawn Murphy celebrate during a game against Adelphi on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. Credit: Lee S. Weissman

For NYIT, it was one thing after another. That's how you take down the No. 1 team in the country.

Adelphi entered yesterday's game ranked No. 1 in the nation among Division II men's lacrosse teams. But Tech had the right formula for an upset.

The host Bears rode four-goal performances by Tom Hughes and Shawn Murphy, solid faceoff work by Nick Pelella and strong goaltending from Alex Seltzer to a thorough 11-6 victory over the visiting Panthers Wednesday.

"We were opportunistic and this is our playoff push," said Murphy [Sachem North], who also scored four goals, including the game-winner in the third overtime of last Saturday's 9-8 victory over another rival, LIU Post. "We'll probably see Adelphi in the playoffs and that's what really matters."

In improving to 11-3, NYIT, ranked No. 7 nationally, neutralized the nation's leading faceoff specialist, Greg Puskuldjian (North Shore), who had won 72 percent of his draws before Wednesday. Pelella (Comsewogue) won 10 of 19, but was especially good in the first quarter, winning five of six as the Bears grabbed a 4-1 advantage. First-quarter dominance was another reason Adelphi (13-1) was unbeaten and No. 1.

"Their guy is good, but Nick did an excellent job," NYIT coach Bill Dunn said. "If we get enough possessions, I know we'll score. We were looking for something from our midfielders and Tommy had a big game."

Hughes scored twice late in the first quarter for a 4-1 edge. The Panthers rallied in the second quarter, cutting the deficit to 5-4 on two goals by Brandon Goodwin. But Tech closed the half on a decisive 3-0 run on goals by Murphy, Hughes and Murphy again. Luke Miller (Floyd), the nation's leading scorer in D-II, contributed three assists.

Adelphi's Connor Duddy (Comsewogue) scored the only goal of the third quarter to make it 8-5, but Hughes' goal early in the fourth put the Panthers back in control. Seltzer (14 saves) made sure it stayed that way.

"I've had a long pole on me most of the season but today I had a short stick and I took advantage," said Hughes, also from Comsewogue. "I think we sent a message that we're here, but we know we're likely to face them again in the NCAA Tournament."

Adelphi ousted Tech in the first round of last year's tournament after also winning the regular-season meeting. The Bears remembered it well. They now lead the all-time series, 14-13, and want to flip the script this year.

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