By SAMSON BELAY
The University of Mary Washington men’s lacrosse team dropped to 5-5 overall with a loss to the third ranked Salisbury Sea Gulls this past Saturday.
Salisbury dismantled the Eagles 18-2, and the game got carried away early with the Sea Gulls outshooting the Eagles 11-3 and scoring seven goals in the first period alone. The Eagles offense continued to struggle going into the second period as the lead grew to 7-0.
“I feel like Salisbury really pressured us and it made it hard for us to get into our offensive sets,” senior Evan Weiss said. “Also, when a team controls the face offs and the ball like they did it really limits your offensive.”
UMW lost 13-15 face-off opportunities in the first half, and the defense was constantly under pressure putting the Eagles goalies in tough situations. Ryan Montgomery had seven saves, Ryan Kleman had four and freshman Zack DelGrosso contributed with a total of three. The Eagles never stopped fighting even though missed opportunities plagued them.
“Khol Meyer played great,” senior Mark Bowler said. “He hit 3 pipes, and that does not show up in the stat book. An inch one way or another and that would have been a hat trick. Joey Marson also played great,” Bowler added.
The persistence paid off when Bowler jolted the team with energy by scoring their first UMW goal of the game to start the second quarter. Evan Weiss made a great assist to Bowler on the crease putting him in position to put the ball in the back of the net. Momentum quickly swung back in Salisbury’s favor, as they scored four unanswered goals. Weiss was able to break that streak by scoring an unassisted goal with 6:50 left in the first half.
“I had been getting the long stick most of the game and was able to get a switch with a short stick defender,” Weiss said. “I took him behind the goal and was able to come around and score.”
The start of the second half looked bleak as the Eagles were down 12-2. Salisbury came out firing, adding six more scores to the goal column. The physicality of both teams was felt immensely throughout the entire game. UMW had a total of six penalties called on them, three of which were unnecessary roughness fouls. Despite some whistles not going their way, Bowler refused to make excuses.
“Good teams are physical and intimidating without getting penalties,” Bowler said.
The Sea Gulls well outshot the visiting Eagles, 42-20, and also held a dominant advantage on ground balls, 28-15. The Eagles has a couple of small victories in that they led in saves 14-11 and won the turnover battle, having 13 to Salisbury’s 17. However, UMW lost the only stat that really matters and that’s goals, and the Eagles fell to 1-2 in CAC play after the loss.
The Eagles optimistic view hopes to help them put their recent struggles behind them and improve their play going forward.
“I think we just need to take this loss and move on,” Weiss said. “We have five more conference games that are going to be key to how our season turns out, so we just need to come out and work hard at practice and the wins will come.”
The Eagles look to right the ship this Saturday, April 2, when they host CAC rival Marymount University at 4:00 p.m. at the Battlegrounds.