Tigers Heat Up Despite Cold Against Otterbein

File Photo | Erin Pence

Alex Previte led the Tigers to a 9-4 win over Otterbein with two goals and two assists on Saturday.

File Photo | Erin Pence

WESTERVILLE, Ohio – Spring Break may have begun for Wittenberg University students, but the conditions were anything but spring-like as the Tiger men's lacrosse team improved to 1-1 by handing Otterbein University a 9-4 defeat at Westerville Central High School on Saturday.

With temperatures around 28 degrees throughout the game, and a seemingly constant snow flurry, the Tigers muscled a gaudy 57 shots against the Cardinals' 20, while also holding advantages in groundballs (33-21) and clears (Wittenberg 12-15, Otterbein 14-24).

A dominant first half led to a 6-1 Wittenberg lead at the break, featuring goals by six different scorers. Senior Alex Previte (Dublin, Ohio/Coffman) opened the scoring just 3:08 into the contest with a man-up goal assisted by freshman Thomas Fuss (New Albany, Ohio/Gahanna Lincoln), but Otterbein answered with their only first-half goal eight minutes later.

Before the first quarter was out, however, Wittenberg had taken a lead it would not lose the rest of the game. Junior Jordan Shoger (Cleveland Heights, Ohio/Cleveland Heights) broke the tie off a feed from freshman Andrew Fuss (New Albany, Ohio/Gahanna Lincoln), and Thomas Fuss got into the scoring column with the Tigers' third goal with 47 seconds left in the quarter.

The Tigers took advantage of Otterbein penalties for their next two goals as senior Tyler Hall (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Twp.) and sophomore Andrew Morrison (Columbus, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) found the net on assists by Previte and Thomas Fuss. Sophomore Ryan Spitzer (Lincolnshire, Ill./Stevenson) rounded out the first-half scoring on an even-strength, unassisted score with 1:29 remaining in the first half.

In the second half, Otterbein found its footing to score the first three goals of the third quarter and chop the Wittenberg lead to just two goals. The offensive burst was short lived, however, as the Tiger defense stiffened and held the Cardinals scoreless the rest of the way.

Previte scored his second goal of the day to end the Otterbein run with help from Thomas Fuss, and in the fourth quarter Andrew Fuss converted a feed from Hall and Shoger netted his second goal off Previte in a man-advantage situation.

As the scoring summary indicates, penalties did some damage to the Otterbein gameplan. The Cardinals were whistled for 11 totaling 12 minutes in the box while Wittenberg was called for only three penalties. The Tigers converted five of their man-up opportunities against 1-3 for Otterbein.

Wittenberg sophomore goalkeeper Jesse Langer (New York, N.Y./Salisbury School) played all 60 minutes in goal and stopped nine Otterbein shots. Deserving mention is the Otterbein goalkeeper, Adam Hatchard, who allowed nine goals but made 29 saves in the net for the Cardinals.

Thomas Fuss, Spitzer and sophomore Riley Boehm (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie) led the Tiger lineup with four groundballs apiece, Spitzer adding two caused turnovers to the mix.

The Tigers head south to Clearwater, Fla., to play two spring break games this week. It starts with Berry College on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. (live video available) and continues with a 6:30 p.m. meeting with Clark (Mass.) on Saturday, March 9.