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The Blue & Gray Press | May 24, 2018

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Men's lacrosse vies for national attention

By KEVIN BOILARD

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Billy Kelly carries the ball against Whittier.

The University of Mary Washington men’s lacrosse team improved its record to 5-1 on Saturday night, March 15, defeating Whittier College in a decisive, 14-5 fashion.

The teams played took the Campus Recreation field because the Eagles’ usual home turf at the Battleground Athletic Complex does not possess the lighting needed to host a night event.  Before the game, UMW Athletic Director Ken Tyler thanked the fans that lined the sidelines for their flexibility to show up at the alternate venue.

Senior midfielder Sean Dacey kicked off the scoring in the first minute of action, igniting a 6-1 scoring run for the Eagles in the first quarter.  Sophomore attackman Griffin Burke notched his second goal of the game—and fourth of the season—at the 1:58 mark in the second quarter, extending UMW’s lead to 9-1 just before the half.

In the second half, the Eagles’ advantage ballooned to 11 goals, allowing the team to coast to a 14-5 victory.  Junior attackmen John Bohlinger and Luke Dick each recorded a hat trick in the win.

UMW’s defense, which was once viewed as the team’s deficiency, has been instrumental in the team’s recent success.  The Eagles have held four opponents under 10 goals, while riding a five-game winning streak.

“We talk well, we play well together,” said junior defenseman Forrest Fisher, who sees himself as the leader of the defense.  “And when that happens, we shut teams down.”

The Eagles are almost halfway through their regular season schedule, and they’re starting to make some noise on a national scale.  Four previously unranked teams moved into the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Top 20 Coaches Poll on Monday, March 18, but UMW was not one of them.

The Eagles, however, were one of 19 other teams that received Top 20 votes.  Despite a 9-4 loss to No. 8 Washington & Lee University on Wednesday, March 20, UMW has a chance to crack the Top 20 with a win over No. 19 State University of New York Plattsburgh on Saturday, March 23.

While Whittier traveled all the way from sunny southern California to be put down by the Eagles, the Plattsburgh Cardinals will be making the trip from frigid upstate New York.  UMW is undefeated at home and hopes to continue that streak on Saturday.

The schedule doesn’t lighten up after that, though.  Conference play starts the following week, and the Eagles will have to take on familiar and formidable rivals Salisbury University, York College and St. Mary’s College.

Head coach Kurt Glaeser believes that the Eagles’ attention to detail will be pivotal in the coming weeks.

“I like that the team is buying into self-improvement,” Glaeser said.  “We have right-handers making left-handed plays.  We are trying to continue to focus on the little things.”

The Eagles may have been impressive through the first six games of the season, but their toughest competition still lies ahead.  The team, however, is not intimidated by its back-loaded schedule.

“This is just the beginning,” Fisher said.