Men's Lacrosse News & Highlights
April 13, 2013
Eagles Outgun Monarchs in Freedom Battle
ST. DAVIDS, Pa.-The result of the game, in some sense, was likely to be determined by the pace of the game. Eastern University Men's Lacrosse used transition opportunities and quick ball movement to score 10 second-half goals in a 15-6 home win over King's College.
Though the Eagles led 5-3 at half, the Monarchs (8-2, 2-1 Freedom) held the Eagles without a goal in the twelve and a half minutes of the second period and had the game at a pace more to their liking with two of their own goals to bring the game back within reach after trailing 5-1.
Eastern scored the first four goals of the second half to seize control of the game. King's picked up goals on either side of the final intermission before the Eagles scored five goals in a seven minute stretch to seal the deal.
Matt Soldano scored the first of his three goals in the second minute of the game. The senior midfielder found a little space nine yards from goal and bounced an overhand shot through King's goalkeeper Brendan McGrudden. McGrudden entered the week leading the nation in both goals against average and save percentage.
Lenny Fox, the 2012 Freedom Conference Player of the Year, leveled the game with 6:45 on the clock with a strong dodge and finish. But the Eagles took the lead for good with two minutes to play on Brendan Stouber's third goal of the year. The long-stick midfielder caught a pass from Shawn Farmer and finished high from a tight angle on the left side.
Grant Ferguson scored his first of five goals on a feed from Chris Farrar with 5.6 seconds to play in the period. The assist was the 31st of the year for the senior attackman. He would ad another helper later in the game to establish the new single-season mark for the program with three regular season games to play. Ferguson finished the day tied for the single-season mark in goals scored with 37.
Farrar scored early in the period from Zac Ivy after Ivy made a tough catch of a deflected pass in traffic. The tally moved Farrar into the career lead in goals scored. He scored three times today to bring that total to 91. Soldano stretched the lead to 5-1 on a quick roll-back pass from Will Johnson, but the Eastern offense then seemed to sputter.
King's scored at the midpoint of the period and again with 58 seconds to play to take the game to intermission at 5-3. The Monarchs did not take advantage of three and a half minutes of extra-man opportunities in the first half. The Eastern man-down unit, which entered the week ranked third in the nation, was five-for-five against King's. The Monarchs picked up their first flag of the game with three seconds to play in the half.
Eastern (10-2, 3-0 Freedom) failed its first man-up chance of the day to start the second half. The Eagles had opportunities on the opening possession, but McGrudden made a save on a Will Johnson shot, Ferguson missed wide, and Eric Waibel hit a shot off the right post that rolled all the way out to midfield. Waibel picked up a 30-second pushing penalty trying to fight for his rebound against a Monarch attackman.
Eastern's man-down unit did its job and the Eagles started the second-half scoring with Ivy's first of two on the afternoon with 11:36 on the clock. Ferguson scored a minute later for a 7-3 edge. Soldano finished his hat-trick with a tremendous solo effort with 4:35 in the period. Seconds later Ferguson finished a transition effort on a nice feed from Andrew Travers. Travers stole a pass to break a King's clear and hit a Ferguson on the doorstep. Ferguson threw a series of fakes to get McGrudden moving and dropped in the shot for a 9-3 edge.
Eastern had a 27-14 edge in shots through the first three periods. King's actually had more shots than Eastern in the fourth period, but their extended possession left the midfield exposed, and the Eagles took advantage of the space and a pair of Monarch penalties to out-score King's 6-2 down the stretch.Farrar and Waibel both notched man-up goals in the period.
Ferguson's final goal came from Zac Ivy and moved the sophomore into a tie with Jon-Marc Harden for the most goals in a single season. Harden scored 37 goals in 2001. Ferguson has 19 goals and nine assists in his five career games against Freedom Conference opponents. He got hurt early in last year's game against King's and scored only once.
Benz stopped nine shots to pick up his 39th career win. The win today is also the 80th win in Eastern program history.
The win is an important one for the Eagles who are looking to secure a Pool B bid and a reasonble seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The Eagles travel to FDU Florham for another Freedom Conference test on Wednesday night.
Updated: Saturday, 13 April 2013