LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A fourth-quarter rally lifted the Jacksonville University men’s lacrosse team to an 11-8 victory over Bellarmine in the teams’ Southern Conference opener, Saturday afternoon at Frazier Stadium.
“It wasn’t how we exactly planned the game going, but our boys found a way to gut out a tough win on the road against a really well-coached Bellarmine team,” said head coach John Gallowayfollowing the win. “We made silly mistakes on both ends and didn’t show the same competition on the ground we did last weekend. With that said, it’s a blessing to win and learn. I’m incredibly proud of Eric Applegate for the week he had – he was named our Player of the Week and proved why in big moments of the game. I am also really impressed with the play of Hunter Sells. After two tough games and a slow start today, he settled in and helped us close out a tight game. Our defense, led by Jordan Young, came to play.”
Tied at 6 with 11:49 left in the fourth quarter, Jacksonville (2-6, 1-0 SoCon) ran out on a decisive 5-1 run to take an 11-7 lead with 1:38 to play. Sparked by back-to-back goals from junior Alec Drosos (11:02) and senior captain Eric Applegate (10:12) just 50 seconds apart, both teams battled for the next 5:53 before Applegate dished to redshirt-junior captain Evan Tyler with 4:19 on the clock.
Though the Knights (0-7, 0-1 SoCon) were able to bring it within two on a Morgan Macko tally with 3:44 showing, Jacksonville responded with back-to-back unassisted marks from Drosos (2:57) and junior Jack Dolan (1:38) for an 11-7 advantage. Riley Seay completed his hat trick on a pass from Macko 28 seconds later, but the damage was done as the Dolphins return to Duval with an unblemished conference record.
Jacksonville finished a perfect 20-of-20 on clears and held the advantage with six less turnovers (23-17).
Highlighted by five saves in the fourth quarter alone, redshirt-junior goalie Hunter Sells had a rock-solid between the pipes as he finished the day with 11 stops.
Tyler led the Dolphins with five points (3 goals, 2 assists), while Applegate (2g, 1a) and Drosos (2g, 1a) chipped in three points each. Defensively, sophomore captain Dixon Smith picked up a team-high five ground balls and caused two Knight turnovers, while freshman Jordan Young (3 GBs, 2 CTs), redshirt-sophomore Tommy Barnhorst (1 GB, 2 CTs), and freshman Zack Deaken (1 GB, 2 CTs) all caused a pair of turnovers in the effort.
Despite Bellarmine notching the first and last goals of the opening quarter, Jacksonville recorded three-straight from junior Dwayne Mattushik (7:15), Applegate (3:40), and Tyler (2:11) to hold a one-goal lead, 3-2. A slick dodge and a rocket left hand from senior Jimmy Hoffman got the Dolphins on the board in the second quarter, but the Knights tied it up with a pair of goals before halftime for a 4-4 deadlock.
Jacksonville came out of the intermission with back-to-back man-up goals goals from Tyler (14:32) and freshman Bo BowHunter(7:38) before Bellarmine was able to answer at 6:50 to make it a one-goal game, 7-6, in favor of the Dolphins at the final break.
Added Galloway, “Over the last few weeks, we relied on our offense to carry us. It is nice to see this team have each other’s back when the ball wasn’t falling for us. Now we get to go back to work on Monday to host a top-10 team that has become one of our fiercest rivals in the SoCon. If we want to be ready, we have to be willing to fight every day this week.”
The Dolphins return to D.B. Milne Field next Saturday, March 23 when they take on SoCon leader High Point at noon.