JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville University men’s lacrosse team (6-4, 3-0 SoCon) put on a defensive clinic, 11-5, on Saturday afternoon opposite Air Force (2-7, 1-2) to remain unbeaten in conference play ahead of a titanic matchup at No. 15 Richmond (4-4, 3-0) next weekend.
The story of this game and perhaps the last five games has been the play of Jason Yoquinto in goal. In six of his seven appearances this season, the Elverson, Pa. native has made 10 or more saves, including a stretch of five straight. He made 16 saves on Saturday afternoon, backing up 17 a week ago opposite Robert Morris. His save percentage against the Falcons finished at 76.2, his highest of the season and increasing his season average to 55.6.
“Today was a great chance for our defense to make up for two performances below their standard the last two weeks,” head coach John Galloway said. “Jason Yoquinto, Colin Hinton, Connor Shears and Jack Heed answered every challenge, and kept a talented Air Force offense to just five goals. I am really proud of our rope unit as well led by Zack Deaken, Dixon Smith and Troy Hettinger. They went toe-to-toe, and made that a defensive battle. We are still very sloppy in the first 20 seconds of each possession. 22 turnovers is far too much, and we will get back to work tomorrow to clean those areas up. Our focus is to play complimentary lacrosse, and we have a chance to do it this week. This is one more step up the mountain, and now our attention shifts to Richmond.”
While Yoquinto was doing his part between the pipes, the Dolphin offense was doing all it needed to do to lock this one up. Matt Stagnitta bagged his second hat trick in as many games and third in four games when he put three in the back of the net. He added an assist to score at least four points in four-straight games.
Jack Dolan, the newly minted member of the Tewaaraton Watch List, scored twice and handed out a pair of assists to secure his four points. He’s now contributed four or more points in a game four times this season and three times in the last four games. He leads the Dolphins with 20 goals and 16 assists, totaling 36 points. He extended on the longest point-streaks in the nation to 32 games.
Jacob Greiner and Troy Hettinger each scored twice while Jeremy Winston and Evan Tyler pitched in one goal each. Curtis Goddard added an assist. Nathan Kapp was 10-20 in the circle with five ground balls. Dixon Smith matched that effort with five ground balls of his own while Zack Deaken picked up four. Deaken and Jack Heed each caused a pair of turnovers.
What felt like a fast start when Hettinger got the scoring started just over a minute into the game turned into a slow burn. The scored was notched at one when the game dipped below two minutes to play in the first quarter. The Dolphins scored twice, just 38 seconds apart to move ahead 3-1 before Air Force added its second with 28 seconds to play. Jacksonville held a 3-2 lead after one.
Jacksonville scored three of the five goals in the second quarter to build a 6-4 lead at the break. The third quarter created the separation in this one. Jacksonville held the Falcons scoreless in the third and added four goals to move ahead 10-4 with just one quarter to go. The two sides traded one goal each in the fourth to create the final score of 11-5.
The 2021 edition of the Jacksonville Lacrosse Classic aired nationally on CBS Sports Network at 5:30 p.m. EST on Saturday evening. Next up for JU will be a duel for top billing in the SoCon when it matches up with fellow unbeaten No. 15 Richmond on the road. That game gets rolling at Robins Stadium on Apr. 17 at 12 p.m. EST.