Ned Belliveau ’14
Led by a stingy defense and solid offense, the Tiger lacrosse team stands at 5-2 after the first month of the season. After dropping an 11-5 decision to then #3 ranked Stevenson (currently ranked #2), the Tigers have won four of five.
The streak began with a road victory against Catholic University, 14-5. In that contest midfielder James Hughes led the team with three goals and two assists and three other Tigers added two goals apiece. The game began as a close contest, with both teams scoring four goals in the first frame. After that, however, it was all Tigers as they outscored the Cardinals 10-1 in the remaining three quarters, including holding them without a goal for a stretch of 40:47.
Senior Brad Mstowey fights for the face-off (credit:hscathletics.com)
The Tigers then traveled to the Midwest to take on the Battling Bishops of Ohio Wesleyan. The Tigers opened the game well, scoring the first four goals. The Bishops clawed back into the game and cut the deficit to two goals at halftime. The Bishops tied the game at 6 with 9:24 remaining in the third quarter but Tigers attackman Thomas Armstrong would convert a man-up opportunity with 5:56 remaining to take the lead. Jess Hawthorne added an unassisted tally with 9:47 left in the game to push the lead to two goals. Ohio Wesleyan answered with 7:04 left to bring the score to within one, but Hawthorne would seal the game with another unassisted goal with 1:13 remaining in the game.
Christopher Newport came into town for an in-state battle and the game lived up to the billing. The Tigers opened the game with a Thomas Armstrong goal 4:15 into the game but the Captains tied it up with 8:12 left. This would be a theme throughout the day the lead was only more than one goal for 2:26 of game time. The teams traded goals back and forth and the score was tied at 5 heading into the fourth quarter. James Hughes put the Tigers ahead with 9:03 left in the game from a Corey Mavromatis assist and the Tigers tried to hold on to the slim advantage. However, the Captains were able to battle back and tie the game with four seconds left to send the game into overtime. In the extra frame the Captains managed to get one by sophomore keeper David Noftsinger and win a wild one, 7-6.
The Tigers continued their season by traveling to Ferrum to take on the Panthers. The Tigers quickly asserted their dominance, outscoring the Panthers 6-0 in the first quarter. Mike Funk and James Hughes both had three points in the first quarter and the game was all but over once it began. The Tigers pushed the lead to 9-1 at halftime and 12-2 after the third quarter before winning 13-3. Hughes finished the day with 4 goals and two assists, Jess Hawthorne added three goals, and Mike Funk tallied four assists to lead the Tiger offense. Another standout performance was had by Brad Mostowy, as he dominated at the face off X, winning 15 of 16 draws.
ODAC play began for the Tigers as they faced off against first year program Bridgewater College on March 16th. The first quarter began with a James Hughes tally that was followed up a Bridgewater goal seventeen seconds later, but that was as close as the Eagles would get as the Tigers proceeded to score seven more goals in the first half to take a 8-3 advantage into the locker room at halftime. The Tigers pushed their lead to 9-6 after a Mike Funk goal in the third quarter, before finishing the Eagles off in the fourth quarter, winning the game 13-5.
The star of the season has unquestionably been the team’s defense, which has allowed a mere 6.58 goals per game and has only allowed opponents to score in double digits once. The team is also forcing 7.8 turnovers a game and scooping up 34.14 groundballs a game. Behind the stellar unit has been a group of Tiger defensemen led by senior captain Cameron Sheppard who has caused 3 turnovers and scooped up 8 groundballs while starting all seven games for the Tigers. Senior Austin Black is having a breakout season, leading the team in caused turnovers with 14 and ranking second on the defense in groundballs with 20. Junior Ned Bowden has also been a contributor, nabbing 22 groundballs (1st on the defensive unit) and causing eight turnovers. Goalkeepers David Noftsinger and Cody Hornung have combined for just 6.53 goals against average and a stellar 61% save percentage to anchor the Tiger defense.
On the offensive end, the Tigers have six players with more than 10 points led by James Hughes with 19.Close behind are Mike Funk (16), Jess Hawthorne (16), and Thomas Armstrong (13). Six players have more than 5 goals and three players have goal totals in the double figures led by Hawthorne with 15. Close behind are Hughes with 14 and Armstrong with 10. A trio of sophomores leads the Tigers in assists: Funk (10), Corey Mavromatis (8), and Hughes (5).
Other standouts for the Tigers include senior Brad Mostowy who has been excellent at the face off X winning 63% of his draws including three games in which he has won over two-thirds of his face offs. Senior captain Ryan Martin has racked up seven goals and four assists in five games and should continue at this clip to give the Tigers more pop on the offensive end.
The Tigers take on archrival Randolph-Macon Friday March 22 in the first home night game in school history. The Tigers escaped 10-8 last year on the road and are looking to push their winning streak against the Jackets to five games. Following that contest the Tigers will host Greensboro College on the 27th before traveling to new ODAC foe Shenandoah on March 30th. The Tigers will then return home on April 3rd for an ODAC clash with Guilford. All three of those home games are night games and should offer ample opportunity to get rowdy and support the Tigers!