By Jimmy Cassidy
The Beloit College Buccaneers’ lacrosse team came all the way from Wisconsin for their spring break to play a couple of mid-atlantic region schools. The Bucs paid a visit to Cardinal Stadium at CUA on Tuesday, March 8th to take on Catholic for one of those games, and they did indeed face some strong competition. The men’s team at Catholic were the better side throughout the contest, and the gap widened as the game went on. The Cardinals took an astounding 73 shots in the game and defeat Beloit 21-10. The victory moves Catholic to 5-2 overall on the season and Beloit falls to 1-2. The season-high 21 goals raises the club’s average goals per game to more than 13.
The Cardinals launched attempts at the Beloit goalie early and often, and a quick 5-1 lead suggested that the score would never be close. Beloit goalkeeping did end up racking up 28 saves on the day, which would typically be an impressive count if it was not out of the 49 that CUA put on target throughout the afternoon. However, the Buccaneer offense did find the back of the net with under a minute left to play in the first quarter to make the game 6-2. Junior midfielder Dylan Neville tallied three of those goals in the first fifteen minutes.
The visitors came out in the second quarter and made a run to remind Catholic not to take them too lightly. Three consecutive goals invited head coach Brooks Singer to take a timeout for the Cards to regroup with just a 6-5 lead. The stoppage did slow momentum and it was sophomore Bennett Bradley who responded to the challenge. The sophomore transfer from Army West Point scored two straight goals in under two minutes to give his club more of an advantage. Although dominating in all the major statistics, the home side had just a 3 goal cushion with a halftime score of 9-6.
When asked what he thought of his new team and the transition to CUA, Bradley had only positive things to say.
“The transition has been a blessing. Coming from a service academy to a traditional school has definitely been a big culture shock, but the CUA community and more importantly the lacrosse family of coaches and players have been extremely supportive and welcoming,” Bradley said.
The halftime score did not represent the advantage that their Cards were displaying over their opponents. As the second thirty minutes would go on to show, CUA was a more talented group of guys. Beloit could not establish any consistent possession on their offensive side, and Catholic quickly broke into their offense once they got the ball. The important evidence of this possession difference was seen in the center of the field after each goal. Catholic won 29 of the 35 face-offs in the contest, and did not let Beloit climb back into the game because of it. Freshman face-off specialist Luke Scaduto went 25-28 in his chances to get his team the ball. CUA also scooped up 55 ground balls in comparison to Beloit’s count of 28. The statistics did not lie in the third quarter, when the hosts broke the game open at Cardinal Stadium.
An goal to open the third quarter for Beloit proved to be a false sense of hope as the 9-7 lead for Catholic quickly ballooned as the Cards scored five goals in a span of four minutes. Bradley again beat the keeper, and fellow sophomore midfielders Samuel Montgomery and Liam Clancy both tallied three of goals of their own in the contest. Neville scored his team-leading fourth goal and finished his night with six total points. The Cardinals outshot the Buccaneers 24-3 in the fifteen minute period, and 9-7 lead turned into an 18-7 before the beginning of the final quarter.
“Over the past few games we have really started to come together on the offensive end. It’s a very talented and deep group of guys but most importantly everyone plays unselfish lacrosse, Bradley said. “We were looking for each other well and finishing the shots we needed to.”
An eleven goal lead allowed coach Singer to play a number of fresh faces in the final fifteen minutes of the contest. CUA and Beloit scored three goals a piece in the fourth and the game ended with a score of 21-10. Twelve different players scored for Catholic, and the team attempted 73 shots as a group compared to Beloit’s 31. Four different players scored at least three times, and the home team cruised to victory. Senior goalkeeper Harrison Holak saved 9 shots on 16 attempts and picked up his fifth win of the year.
“The team has really come together this season and started to play for each other,” Bradley said after the game. “Coach Singer and the rest of the coaching staff constantly stress that putting on a jersey with a Catholic ‘C’ on it is a privilege and everyone has bought into the fact that everyone who wears the jersey is just as important as everyone else to the success of the team.”
Catholic will wrap up their three-game homestand tomorrow Saturday, March 12th, when they host Marywood University at 2 PM.