On Saturday, men’s lacrosse lost to Wesleyan 9-8 in its season opener at Farley-Lamb field.
At the first whistle, Wesleyan was able to win the face off but quickly turned the ball over. Max Stukalin ’20 took advantage and scored an unassisted goal within the first minute of the game.
Then, with a penalty on goalie George Peele ’20, the Ephs had to compete with one fewer man on the field. Harry Gahagan ’21 went in as a substitute for Peele. With stellar defense and a pivotal save, the Ephs were able to regain possession of the ball and run the clock out on the Peele infraction.
Both teams battled it out for six minutes before Wesleyan answered with a goal from Cole Turpin, bringing the score to 1-1. Less than a minute later, the Ephs netted a goal from captain James McFarland ’18, assisted by Kevin Stump ’20. Thirty seconds later, with 1:39 left in the period, Carter Hawthorne scored a goal for the Cardinals. It was soon countered by Stump with 52 seconds left in the period, assisted by Peter Tamasi ’21.The score at the end of the first quarter was 3-2 in favor of the Ephs.
The Ephs took their momentum into the second quarter of the match-up, and at 11:04, Stump found the net, assisted by James McFarland ’18.
Two minutes later, Zander Kosten scored for the Cardinals, assisted by Turpin. Both teams played stellar defense for the remainder of the quarter, and the Ephs were up by one going into the third quarter.
The Ephs came into the second half fired up and won the face off. With 9:06 left in the third quarter, the Cardinals tied the game with a goal by Harry Stanton, assisted by Hawthorne.
With an unnecessary roughness penalty on Williams, Wesleyan was able to get two shots on the goal, with one from Ronan Jacoby going in to give the Cardinals the lead. A second unanswered goal scored by the Cardinals on another man-down opportunity brought the score to 6-4. Answering back, John Hincks ’20 netted a goal in spectacular fashion for the Ephs, closing the deficit to just one. The Cardinals were able to answer with two goals by Stanton at 2:33. With 1:19 left in the quarter, Wesleyan was up 8-5.
Wesleyan came into the final quarter focused, and Tom Martello scored at 12:12 on a crease-cranker, assisted by Ryan Lynch. The score was now 9-5 in favor of Wesleyan. However, like so many other times in the game, the Ephs had an answer. Stump responded with a goal, his third of the day. Then, less than a minute later, McFarland scored another unanswered goal with the assist by Hincks.
With two flags thrown on the Cardinals, Stukalin was able to put one in quickly for the Ephs. McFarland assisted the goal, who finished the game with a pair of goals as well as assists. With six minutes left in the game, Williams was down by one with a two-man advantage.
Although the Cardinals prevented the Ephs from having an opportunity to score, Wesleyan then incurred another penalty, its third of the fourth quarter. With a man-up opportunity for the Ephs, Wesleyan denied an Eph goal and called a timeout with two minutes remaining in the game. In the last two minutes, Wesleyan was able to stand its ground against a tenacious Williams attack to prevail 9-8.
Peele played the majority of the game and made 12 saves to anchor the Eph defense. Gahagan also had one save for the Ephs on an important man-down drive. The Cardinals used one goalie, Steve Kovalsky, who made eight saves.
The Ephs were led by Stump, who netted three goals. Stukalin and McFarland each put two in the back of the net.
Head coach George McCormack shared his thoughts on the team’s season opener. “I thought it was a great and hard-fought game,” he said. “Our third quarter was our demise between possession of the ball and ground balls… I’m super proud of the guys for the work they put in, and we’ll learn to build on this.”
The men will return to action tonight at 7 p.m. in their second regular-season game against Union in Schenectady, N.Y.