Marlins ride 8-1 lead to stunning win over Washington & Lee
VIRGINIA BEACH -- Virginia Wesleyan College's lacrosse Marlins needed a momentum killer. (Box score)
Washington & Lee University's Generals were on a roll Saturday on Foster Field with four consecutive goals that cut into a stunning 8-1 lead by the host Marlins.
But, that's where the W&L rally ended. On "Senior Day" at the Trinder Center, it was only appropriate that it was a senior who emerged big for the Marlins. Damian Becker (Lynbrook, N.Y./Lynbrook) (left) took a pass from Travis Puls (Elicott City, Md./Baltimore Mt. St. Joseph) and fired it into the net to stop the Generals and give VWC a 9-5 lead with 4:51 remaining in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference game.
It also gave the Marlins the momentum to the final buzzer, as Puls and sophomore Adam Adamson (Marriottsville, Md./Baltimore Mt. St. Joseph) followed with back-to-back goals in a span of 14 seconds to help push Virginia Wesleyan to an impressive 11-6 victory.
It was a highlight win for Virginia Wesleyan, which defeated Washington & Lee for the first time on the home field in 11 attempts. It also marked VWC's second win in the last four meetings with the Generals, the first a 13-12 win at Washington & Lee in the ODAC tournament in 2008.
Six Marlins scored goals in the win, which included outstanding efforts from numerous players, including senior goalie Tyler Keech (Eldersburg, Md./Liberty) (left) and sophomore midfielder Mikey Connors (Horseheads, N.Y./Horseheads)(right). Keech frustrated the Generals time after time, stopping shots high and low en route to 19 saves, his second highest total of the season. Connors did his part in the face-off battles where he won the ball for the Marlins in 12 of 21 attempts.
In fact, it was Connors who gave the Marlins (8-6, 3-3) a lead they did not lose. Only eight seconds after Puls tied the game at 1-all with a goal, Connors won the face-off and sprinted toward the net with a shot that gave VWC a 2-1 lead.
It was a goal that ignited the host team, as Virginia Wesleyan scored six more goals in an eight-goal run that spanned the first and second quarters to open up an incredible 8-1 lead with 4:45 remaining before halftime. Connors scored three goals in the run, which included two from junior Adam Nycz (East Aurora, N.Y./Iroquois)and another from Puls.
Jack Switala (Lloyd Harbor, N.Y./Cold Spring Harbor) put W&L (7-7, 4-2) on the scoreboard first in the third quarter, as the Generals held the upper hand in a turnover-plagued quarter by VWC. W&L scored four unanswered goals to pull within an 8-5 score, before Becker came through with the momentum-changer for Virginia Wesleyan.
Washington & Lee finished with a 43-31 advantage in shots and a slight 37-36 edge in ground balls, but VWC controlled the important face-off category, winning 12-of-21. While Connors led that area with all 12 wins, he also recorded a game-high 10 grounds balls. He becomes the 11th player in VWC history to record 10 or more grounders in a game.
Connors and Puls led VWC with three goals each. Adamson added a goal and two assits.
Switala paced W&L with two goals. Jason Lumpkin (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall) recorded four saves for the Generals in the first half. Ned Lundvall (Richmond, Va./Gilman) posted six saves in the second half.
Virginia Wesleyan competes again on Saturday, Apr. 23, playing in a key ODAC contest at Lynchburg College at 4 p.m.