LEXINGTON, Va. — The Wittenberg men's lacrosse team hit the road to open their season against a traditionally strong Washington & Lee squad, a member of the lacrosse powerhouse Old Dominion Athletic Conference, and hit the road back to Springfield with a 7-6 win in tow.
The Tigers now boast a 1-0 overall record to begin the 2011 campaign, nine months after completing one of the most successful seasons in school history last year. The 2010 Tigers finished with a 10-5 overall record, a share of their first North Coast Athletic Conference title thanks to a 4-1 league record, and their first NCAA Division III Tournament appearance since the varsity program was reinstated in 1983.
The Tigers also leveled the all-time series with the Generals at 1-1, following last year's 10-4 loss in the two teams' first-ever meeting.
The victory did not come without some swings in momentum, however, as Washington & Lee (1-1) broke a 3-3 tie wide open with three straight goals beginning late in the second quarter. With 11:43 left in the third quarter and the score 6-3 in favor of the Generals, the Tigers had work to do.
Work they did, as the Tigers scored four unanswered goals to finish the game, three of them on man-up opportunities.
The tide began to turn when the Generals' Luke Walter was called for slashing, and just 18 seconds later Tiger freshman Jack Bornhofen (Peachtree City, Ga./McIntosh) found the net on an assist by senior Matt Lord (Pickerington, Ohio/North).
The scenario played out again later in the third quarter, W&L's Joe LaSala this time hit with a slashing penalty and sophomore Tyler Hall (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Twp.) scoring the Tigers' fifth goal just 14 seconds later, Lord again picking up the assist.
The game-tying goal came at even strength with 12:34 left in the game, and this time Lord had the final touch, assisted by senior Brady Christensen (Medina, Ohio/Medina).
With all the momentum on their side, the Tigers stuck the game-winning goal in the net just 42 seconds later, again on a man-up chance, as Hall picked up his second goal of the game and Lord his third assist.
With the one-goal lead, the Tigers kept pressuring the ball, causing three failed clears for the Generals, while senior goalkeeper Mark DeOliveira (East Hanover, NJ/East Hanover) preserved the advantage with six saves to finish the game.
DeOliveira finished the contest with 12 saves while playing all 60 minutes in goal. Hall led the offense with two goals, while Lord finished with one and split the team lead in assists with Christensen at three each.
Senior Danny Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio/Indian Hill) also scored in the game and picked up three groundballs, and Bornhofen caused two turnovers and picked up three groundballs on top of his rally-starting goal.
Senior defender Adam Ansel (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) paced the team with four groundballs, and junior Michael Cocking (St. Louis, Mo./CBC) caused a team-high five turnovers and scored once.
The Tigers are back on the road for their next game, taking on Sewanee at the Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Tenn. on Saturday, Feb. 26, beginning at 1 p.m.
John Strawn '07