By Andrew Chirico
It was a game of complete control, in which the Washington College men’s lacrosse team never trailed in a 13-3 conference victory over host Muhlenberg College.
The Shoremen got things going quickly, taking a 4-0 lead in the first quarter which started when sophomore Brady O’Neill scored the first goal of the game off an assist from junior Tanner Barbieri. Muhelnberg snapped the run, scoring two goals of their own to make the game 4-2.
WC ended the first half with the momentum, scoring the final two goals of the half, giving them a 6-2 lead heading into the half. Sophomore Casey Grieves scored two goals in the first 30 minutes, which was a team-high.
The Mules were the ones to strike first early in the second half, putting the game within three goals. Junior Tyler Powers quickly silenced the home crowd with a goal of his own, giving WC a four goal advantage. Eight minutes later, freshman Cooper Sloan pushed WC’s advtantage to 8-3 with a goal at the 3:20 mark in the third quarter. The Shoremen defense was able to hold Muhlenberg to just one goal in the third, which helped give them a comfortable 8-3 lead heading into the final quarter.
After giving the Mules a goal in each of the first three quarters, WC finished the game in-control, shutting out the opposition while scoring five goals, giving them a ten goal victory.
The scoring distribution was spreadout as Barbieri, Powers, Grieves, and sophomores Nick Boyles and Zachary Gorassi, who eached scored one goal in the final 15 minutes.
The offense was led by Powers and Grieves, who each scored three goals. Following the pair was Barbieri with one goal and two assists. WC held the advantage of possession, allowing them to out-shoot the Mules 52-26.
Junior goalie Ben Flood continues to shine in the net, allowing just three goals while tallying 11 saves. With the performance, Flood has now collected 33 saves while allowing just eight goals over the past two conference games.
Having gotten a full week’s rest, junior midfielder Austin Hepburn feels the team was able to prepare for their game versus Muhlenberg effectively.
“Without a Wednesday game, we had a full week of practice where we were able to focus on ourselves as a team defense,” Hepburn said. “Coach Kerr does a great job in understanding what the opposing team does and working that into drills. In game, we were prepared for their offense and knew their player tendencies, which enabled us to be dominant. When our defense did break down, Flood was able to back us up and make a big save.”
With the win, WC bounces back after dropping their first two conference games. Hepburn respects the level of play in Centennial and emphasized how important every game is.
“The Centennial Conference is extremely competitive this year, as it usually tends to be,” he said. “Dropping the first two games in conference play to teams we could have and should have beat left a bad taste in our mouths. After beating Muhlenberg, we are now focused on Haverford.”
Barbieri also feels that the road win has given the team a boost in morale.
“With every game, especially today, there’s a lot we can improve on and do better. But most importantly we got the win,” he said. “I think the biggest thing with out group is realizing our capability and dominating. We have a very hard working and talented team. We just need to keep getting better and gaining confidence to put in in the right spot. Taking one game at a time is the most important. There isn’t a day off in conference games.”
Head Coach Jeff Shirk recognized the importance of small details to get the win.
“I thought the boys did a great job getting through ground balls. especially in the second half,” he said. “Those seemingly-small hustely plays led to a bunch of our scoring opportunities.”
With the big win, the team was able to get their key reserves in.
“It was also great to see more guys who have seen limited minutes this year get in and execute at a high level,” he said. “Excited for those guys to get rewarded for their hard work.”
WC will return to action on Saturday, April 15, when they travel to Centenary, N.J. for a 1 p.m. start. The game can be seen via live-stream provided by the Centenary Athletics’ Department.