Xavier Men"s Lacrosse snags #1 ranking in the country after dominating #7 Miami (OH) and #25 Marshall
The Xavier Men’s Lacrosse team traveled to Miami University this past Saturday to compete in a mini-tournament where they would play 7th ranked Miami and 25th ranked Marshall. The Men’s team had high hopes for leaving Oxford with two wins, which is exactly what they did, as well as earning the #1 ranking out 124 teams in the NCLL.
The Musketeers played their first game against Marshall as they looked to avenge their loss to the Herd in a scrimmage this past fall. The Muskies dominated this time around by winning with a one-sided score of 15-2. Sophomore captains Michael Louque and Peter Manca took control by each winning over 80 percent of their face-offs. The scoring-run began as Manca won the opening faceoff, using his high-flying speed and scoring off of a wicked shot put past the Marshall goalie Calvin Britton for the first goal of the game. This pattern continued as both Louque and Manca alternated face-offs as well as the rest of the attack tallying goals from sophomore Sean Cahill and Freshmen Jack Severt and Mac Reed. After just three minutes of play in the first quarter, the Musketeers were up 5-0 on Marshall. The Musketeers continued to dominate throughout the first half, as Junior Jon Deters and Manca and Louque continued their offensive force that Marshall could not control.
On the Musketeers’ defensive side of the field, Marshall rarely could get the ball to their attackmen to set up an offensive effort. But in the rare occasions that Marshall’s offense did possess the ball, the suffocating Xavier defense of sophomore and Junior defensive co-captains Charley Jones and Matt Kaplun, as well as Sophomore Dan Hellmann continually frustrated Marshall. The defensive midfielders which included Freshman Pat Brennan and Sophomores Dan Ible and Bobby Graham made it extremely difficult for Marshall to transition to offense by constantly shutting down the opposing midfielders. Kaplun, Jones and Hellmann continually forced turnovers with their aggressive style of play, which also contributed to Xavier’s time of possession on the offensive side of the field.
Freshman Conor Gallagher proved himself worthy by nearly stopping everything that came his way. Gallagher showed great poise and patience in the net which made him yet another frustration for Marshall to deal with. At the end of regulation, the Musketeers dominated Marshall with a final score of 15-2, but only completed half of their goal. The second part was to get a win over Miami.
As the Musketeers gained momentum from the victory over Marshall, they were determined to stay focused to get a win over regional powered Miami, but they knew it wouldn’t be easy. The Musketeers made some minor changes with its lineups, as junior defensive co-captain Matt Kaplun suffered a strained calf in the Marshall victory, Sophomore Bobby Graham would take his place at close-defense, putting Freshman Chris Sutton at defensive midfield and perhaps the biggest change of all, putting junior sensation Joey Jenco in net to replace Gallagher.
The game started off with high intensity from both teams until the near the end of the first quarter when Sophomore Bobby Graham intercepted a pass at midfield and dished it to Freshman attackman Mac Reed who put it home to put the Musketeers up 1-0 at the end of the first.
The second quarter stayed consistent with high-intensity from both sides as Sean Cahill scored off a bounce-shot to put it past the Miami goaltender. Miami immediately responded as a midfielder ripped a shot from 15 yards out which deflected off of Xavier goaltender Joey Jenco’s shoulder and into the net. The score was 2-1 at the half.
The rest of the game was fought hard by the Muskies as they scored five unanswered goals from Sophomores Michael Louque and Peter Manca, as well as freshmen Jack Severt. The final score was 7-1 in the Musketeers’ favor as they celebrated at the end of regulation. The two wins put Xavier at 2-0 to start off the season with a current ranking of #1 in the nation among NCLL teams.