By KEVIN BOILARD
The University of Mary Washington men’s lacrosse team opened up their season with a 10-9 victory over Virginia Wesleyan College last Saturday, Feb. 11.
The 2011 season marks the 26th season of men’s lacrosse at UMW and also the second straight season the Eagles have kicked off the year with a win.
Sophomore attackman John Bohlinger led the charge with four goals and an assist while junior midfielder Sean Dacey and junior attackman Paul Tunick added two goals apiece.
Sophomore midfielder Chip Pittard and senior attackman Harry Snyder each found the back of the net once to help ensure a UMW victory.
After being shut out in the first quarter, Dacey broke the Eagles’ scoring drought cutting VWC’s lead to 2-1 early in the second quarter. The team was able to gather momentum and go into halftime with a 4-3 lead, but the Eagles relinquished that lead early in the second half.
A cold, wet day in Norfolk, Virginia set the backdrop for a back-and-forth, hard-fought second half battle between the intrastate rivals.
“After they got ahead of us,” Tunick said, “it felt like every time we would tie the game up they would score another goal and go back up by one.”
By KEVIN BOILARD
At one point, the Eagles found themselves down by two in the fourth quarter. But after Pittard’s goal, Tunick was able to tie the game up at 9-9 and put the Eagles in position to win the game.
“I was on the crease and I noticed I had a short stick [defender] on me,” Tunick said about his game-tying goal, “I just put my stick in the air and I knew he saw me. Chip put it right on the money and I stung it in the top right corner.”
With less than four minutes left to play, the Eagles found themselves all knotted up with VWC. Head coach Kurt Glaeser was impressed with the way his team handled the adversity.
“We showed composure and we kept scrapping when we were down two goals in the fourth quarter,” Glaeser said.
Glaeser and his team looked to their leaders to pull out a victory. Sean Dacey, one of the team’s captains, delivered for his coach.
With a mere 2:11 remaining, Dacey took the game into his own hands by scoring an unassisted goal and lifting the Eagles to a 10-9 win to kick-start their season.
“I knew we needed to get a goal,” Dacey said. “When it’s tied up that late in the game, it’s usually a ‘next goal wins’ scenario. I was in the center of the field and I noticed there was no attackman to my left so I dodged down the alley lefty. I had free hands from about six yards away so I shot the ball low, in a hard place for the goalie to get it, and it went in.”
UMW will face a tougher opponent next week when they battle Hampden-Sydney College. Glaeser believes that some improvements will need to be made to be able to contend with HSC, a perennial top-20 caliber team.
“We overcame plenty of mistakes [on Saturday],” Glaeser said. “It will be more difficult to do that against a team like Hampden-Sydney, who play a more deliberate, ball control style. They won’t beat themselves.”
UMW (1-0) will be hosting the visiting Tigers (0-0) at 1 pm on the new turf field at the Battleground Complex.