JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After 340 days between games, the Jacksonville University men’s lacrosse team (1-0) came out of the corner swinging on Wednesday afternoon with an unrelenting effort opposite Bellarmine (1-2) to come away with a 19-8 victory.
This was a game that featured big hits and even bigger performances by some familiar names but also several new ones. Scoring the first goal of the 2021 campaign and leading the scoring was Jack Dolan. He posted three goals and three assists en route to his game-high six points. Dolan’s three assists all went to different players as there were plenty of mouths fed on Wednesday afternoon.
“Fantastic first outing,” head coach John Galloway said. “Who knew if we were going to be able to play or not and to be able to come out here and just be together as a team, to be able to put the uniform back on against a really competitive Southern Conference opponent, it’s exciting.”
In total, 11 different Dolphins contributed to the 19 scores, three of whom collected hat tricks. Dolan, Luke Robinson and Troy Hettinger all found their mark three times. Evan Tyler and newcomer Sam Chase each converted twice while Curtis Goddard, Ethan LaMond, Brett Reilly, Conor Shears, Matt Stagnitta and Jeremy Winston all scored once. Reilly added in a game and career-high four assists for good measure. The fifth-year senior came into this season with just 12 assists to his credit across a four-year career.
Goddard, Stagnitta and Tucker Garrity each pitched in a pair of assists while Tom Heed, Cooper Trepeta, Tyler and Winston all had one. Adam Baker made four saves and collected five ground balls while Nathan Kapp was unstoppable at the X. He was 27-31 on faceoffs with 14 ground balls.
That effort from Kapp allowed the Dolphins to get in a rhythm and score five unanswered goals after going down 0-1 at the 9:08 mark in the first quarter. Dolan got things started with a slick flip at the 5:53 mark. Robinson followed with his first, Dolan picked up his second, Hettinger canned a rocket from the right side and Shears completed the run with his first JU goal to kick off the second quarter.
“I was really proud of our guys defensively in the first half,” Galloway continued. “I thought our short sticks answered the bell with us being a little shorthanded. I was really proud of the way they stepped up to the plate on a hot day, being asked to play so much lacrosse.”
The onslaught was on from there. Jacksonville jumped ahead by as many as 10 (12-2) by midway through the third and was able to coast from there. There were several highlight reel tallies down the stretch as the game opened up for some of the newcomers. Sam Chase as an example, collected a no-look, wraparound, over-the-shoulder whip for his second score of the day and LaMond absorbed a huge hit on the follow through of his lone tally.
This game served as an eye-opener for the Jacksonville faithful, but the first massive test comes on Saturday night when the Dolphins travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. for a matchup with the No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels. This will be the first time that Jacksonville will stand across the field from North Carolina in a regular season game since the program’s first-ever contest as a Division I entity in 2010. It will be the second time in program history that Jacksonville will matchup with the No. 2 team in the land.
That game will get started at 6 p.m. in Chapel Hill and will be available to view on the ACC Network.
Author’s Note: Is that a Paul Cicio sighting in the picture?