By SAMSON BELAY
The University of Mary Washington men’s lacrosse team captured their first conference win of the season while also improving to 5-4 overall when they took down St. Mary’s College, 8-7, last Saturday at the Battlegrounds. The game went down to the wire as the Eagles bounced back from an early 5-1 deficit, and their resilience helped them take the victory.
The Eagles drew first blood when senior Kohl Meyer scored just two minutes into the game. The Seahawks answered with two goals of their own to take a 2-1 advantage heading into the second quarter. The momentum was clearly in St Mary’s corner, and they dominated the ball as they outshot the Eagles 11-3 in the first period.
“We’ve never been the kind of team to be hot out of the gates, but we weren’t being disciplined with the ball,” Meyer said. “In the game of lacrosse, the ball is precious and having the ball is everything and we lost sight of that.”
The second quarter began like the first ended, with the Seahawks continuing their furious offensive assault. Penalties handed down to UMW helped aid St. Mary’s as their lead grew to 5-1.
The turning point of the match happened when the Eagles’ pride pushed them to respond just before intermission. With four minutes left in the first half, senior Mark Bowler sparked the comeback with his only goal of the game. Going into halftime, the deficit was cut to 5-4 as senior Evan Weiss and freshman Luke Dick contributed late half goals.
“Our team morale was as good as I’ve ever seen it,” Meyer said. “I know everyone was feeling pretty down on the sidelines when the scoreboard read 5-1 in the Seahawks favor. So going into halftime after cutting the deficit to one and having all the momentum was huge for us.”
The tables continued to turn in UMW’s favor in the second half, as the Eagles scored three straight goals. With an assist from Meyer, Dick would add to his two-goal scoring streak. Sophomore Sean Dacey and Meyer would pile onto the lead by scoring a pair of unassisted goals. With 24 seconds left UMW had slight laps in defense, and St. Mary’s snuck in a goal to end the third.
“In the second half I think we played great on both sides of the ball,” Meyer said. “John Tobben came up clutch on a few faceoffs towards the end of the game to give us possession when we were only holding on by one, and Will Devlin, I don’t think ever gets enough credit. He’s always shutting down our opponents point leader and against St. Mary’s [he] did a great job against 45, who wasn’t able to do as much damage as he’s usually able to. Ryan Montgomery, our goalie, came up with a few big saves towards the end there also that kept us in it.”
In the fourth and final period, both teams scored a goal apiece, but that would not be enough for the Seahawks to overtake UMW. Junior Harry Snyder’s goal in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter was the last score for the Eagles in the game. The defense played exceptionally well to end the game, as they held the opposing team’s offense to just seven goals. Goalie Ryan Montgomery led Mary Washington’s stout defense as he tallied 14 saves on the day.
The Eagles did fall behind in the shot total but climbed back, making it 30-34 and won the battle in ground balls as they led 26-23. Face offs are the Achilles heel for this team, but they pulled it together winning 8-17.
Mary Washington looks to add to the win column when they square off at Salisbury University this Saturday, March 26, at 1 p.m.