By KEVIN BOILARD
Del Grosso wasn’t the only Eagle to stand out. Three offensive players—senior midfielder Sean Dacey, and junior attackmen Billy Kelly and Luke Dick—each chipped in a hat trick on the scoring end. Junior attackman John Bohlinger, the only other Eagle to score, added two goals of his own.
Bohlinger broke the ice on a Dick-assisted man-up goal less than 90 seconds into the contest. From there, however, the Eagles started to slip as the McDaniel Green Terror went on a 5-0 run, which extended into the second quarter.
Kelly, the team’s leading goal scorer, finally stopped the bleeding 15 seconds after McDaniel scored its fifth goal of the game. He penetrated the Green Terror defense and dove across the face of the goal, showing fierce determination on his unassisted tally.
Down 5-2, UMW rallied to tie the game before halftime.
Senior attackman Paul Tunick pulled up short on a shot attempt to connect with Bohlinger instead, giving the Eagles their third goal of the game with 11:11 to play in the half.
Junior midfielder Chip Pittard recorded the first of his three assists when he found Dacey for a man up score with 3:16 left.
“When country music is the last thing I hear before stepping on that field, I know I’m going to have a good day,” Dacey said, referring to an Alan Jackson version of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which played over the loudspeaker at the Battlegrounds complex before the start of the game.
Kelly, the player that started the run, also capped it off, adding his second goal of the game with only 11.6 seconds remaining in the first half.
“I like the personnel we have on the offensive side of the field,” head coach Kurt Glaeser said after the game. “In terms of personnel—athletes, guys who can create points for us—we’re much better off than we were 10 days ago.”
Glaeser’s athletes continued to battle with the Green Terror into the third frame. The Eagles got goals from Dacey and Dick, but were unable to pull away, as the majority of the period was played on UMW’s defensive half of the field.
Del Grosso bailed the Eagles out several times in the third, allowing his team to head into the final quarter deadlocked at seven goals apiece.
“Last game, I was really nervous,” Del Grosso said in reference to the Eagles’ match-up with Randolph-Macon last Wednesday, Feb. 20, in which he was temporarily pulled from the action during the second half. “I felt no pressure today. I just came out here and played really solid ball with the team.”
Less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, Kelly notched his third unassisted goal, giving the Eagles a lead they would not surrender. Again, Pittard assisted Dacey on a man advantage score, putting the Eagles up 9-7 with 12:37 left to play in the game. McDaniel midfielder Jason Lawrence closed the gap to one goal six minutes later.
Dick scored a pair of goals, completing his hat trick and putting the Eagles up by three points with under four minutes to play. But after McDaniel’s James Gibbons scored to make it 11-9 with 1:39 to play, the real danger set in for UMW.
With 1:03 left, Bohlinger and defenseman Charlie Webb were called for 60-second infractions, leaving Del Grosso and his defense two men down to close out the game. Thirty seconds later, Dick was called for an illegal procedure, and the Eagles were suddenly forced to seal the victory playing six-on-three.
Somehow, the Eagles averted the danger, holding the Green Terror scoreless for the final minute of play, finalizing an 11-9 win.
“I thought we had it won,” Del Grosso said. “But that’s a lesson that you can’t ever celebrate too early.”
The Eagles will travel to Hampton Roads on Saturday, March 2, to take on Christopher Newport University at 1 p.m.