By John Bray | Staff Writer
The Lords lacrosse team began their North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) campaign with a stunning 6-5 victory over Wittenberg University this past Saturday.
The McBride Field bleachers were packed for this defensive struggle. Wittenberg struck first, but Fritz Waine ’15 and Justin Coleman ’15 responded with goals of their own, propelling the Lords to a 2-1 lead after the first quarter.
The Tigers countered during the second quarter with two unanswered goals and took a 3-2 lead at halftime.
The Lords took momentum back after halftime and held a 4-3 lead into the fourth quarter after goals by Pat Kim ’15 and Zach Arlia ’14.
The dramatic fourth quarter was set up by two Wittenberg goals, giving them a 5-4 lead. That’s when Waine took over the game. The junior tied the game with 8:05 left to play with an unassisted goal. During a Wittenberg timeout with 25 seconds left, Head Coach Doug Misarti’s message was simple for the Lord’s next defensive stand.
“We focused on playing solid defense and getting to spots on our clear so that we could set up a final offensive opportunity,” Misarti said in an email.
Goalie Patrick Shevelson ’16 then made the most important of his eight saves. After the save, the Lords hurried down the field where Kim drew two defenders and dished to a wide open Waine, who whipped the shot past the Tiger goalie, leaving them only 13 seconds to try and force overtime.
“I felt pretty confident that if I put my shot on the net it was going to go in,” Waine said of his game-winning goal.
The Tigers were forced to fire off a desperation shot that did not stand much of a chance, and the Lords captured the 6-5 victory.
In the highly competitive NCAC, every win matters, especially the first one.
“Winning any conference game is big, as they are all battles for us, but getting the first one is momentum-building,” Misarti wrote. “You always want to have momentum as we work to earn a conference tournament bid.”
“The whole team knew that last game was pretty much a ‘must win game’ for our team,” Waine said. “Starting off 1-0 is so important in conference play because only four teams make the conference tournament at the end of the season, so 1-0 gives us the early leg up against other conference teams.”
After the win over Wittenberg, the Lords hosted Otterbein University yesterday evening and beat the Cardinals 10-9 in overtime.
The Lords hit the field next this Saturday, March 29 with a game at Oberlin College.