By ANDREW ELLIOTT
The UMW men’s lacrosse team (4-3) came into Saturday’s home matchup against the Goucher Gophers (4-2) riding an impressive four-game winning streak. The Eagles’ wins came against Christopher Newport University, McDaniel College, College of Wooster and Randolph-Macon College.
“The four-game win streak then had our team feeling very confident. Coming into the Goucher game, we understood they were a very good team and that we needed to respect them as a talented group.”
Goucher had been experiencing similar success because they were in the midst of a four-game winning streak of their own. There was no doubt that Saturday’s game would be hard fought and competitive as both teams sought to continue their winning ways.
The game’s scoring action began at the 10:51 mark in the first quarter, as UMW drew first blood when Meaney shot a goal into the back of the net on an extra man opportunity. The Gophers were not fazed as they responded by reeling off three consecutive goals between the 6:54 to 5:38 mark of the opening period.
However, the Eagles would not back down, as they finished the first with another goal from Meaney and one from freshman attacker Johnny Hink.
The scoring in the second quarter began quickly with an unassisted goal from the Gophers’ Matt Lynch at the 13:20 mark. UMW countered with a goal from Deal off a Harry Snyder assist and a man up goal from freshman attacker Paul Tunick.
The Gophers added an unassisted goal from Rory Averett at 7:57 and UMW replied with an unassisted goal from Snyder at 5:33. Goucher closed out the quarter with two more goals and led the Eagles 7-6 at the half.
To the Eagles’ dismay, the productive offensive scoring effort that they displayed in the first two quarters did not continue into the second half. UMW was held scoreless in the third quarter and only mustered a single unassisted goal from Bowler late in the fourth.
“We had some great chances [in the second half] on the doorstep and either dropped passes or missed shots inside five yards,” UMW Head Coach Kurt Glaeser said. “Part of that is inexperience, which leads to panic. We’re good athletes for the most part, but we play out-of-control too often in close games.”
Just like the Eagles, Goucher struggled offensively in the second half. However, they were able to produce a goal in each quarter, and the left the Battlegrounds by adding another win to their resume with the final score being 9-7.
The Eagles’ goal keeper, sophomore Matt Prin, finished the game with a solid performance in the cage making 11 saves. Furthermore, the Eagles controlled the face offs in the second half, led by senior Ryan Motyka, winning all five faces after intermission. Nevertheless, these contributions could not offset UMW’s offensive draught and numerous turnovers that plagued them in the latter half of the game.
Yesterday UMW hosted a matchup against second-ranked Stevenson as they began Capital Athletic Conference play. The following Wednesday, UMW will play third-ranked Salisbury. Coach Glaeser described the next two games as a “gut check.”
“We need to slow them down in order to keep them from scoring in transition,” Deal said. “They have a lot of offensive fire power so we have to limit the amount of time they have the ball on O [offense].”
‘If we can play more within ourselves and take care of the ball, we can give these ranked teams a good game,” Glaeser said.
The Eagles are expected to have senior attacker Daniel Coats return to play this week after incurring a rib injury in February against Hampden-Sydney College. Coats has been a key component in the Eagles’ offense during his career and led the team in total points as a sophomore. His return is good news for UMW with this tough stretch of games coming up.