Early lead not enough as Virginia Wesleyan falls to No. 3 Lynchburg
LYNCHBURG, Va. -- For about seven minutes Saturday it looked as though the Virginia Wesleyan College men's lacrosse team was playing to the script of "Miracle," the story of the United States' phenomenal victory over a seeming invincible Russian team in the 1980 Olympics.
The underdog Marlins gave up an early goal to the highly favored Lynchburg College Hornets, only to storm back to stun the host team and its home crowd by scoring three consecutive goals for a 3-1 lead in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference semifinal game.
It was a surge that electrified the VWC team and its faithful contingent of fans on hand to watch the game. But, that's where the storylines separated. While the USA went on to stun the Soviets, Lynchburg, ranked No. 3 nationally, took a time out to regroup and came back with four straight goals to grab the lead en route to a 14-6 victory.
Senior Kyle Wright (Horseheads, N.Y./Horseheads) scored for VWC to stop the Hornets' early run to make it a 5-4 game, but LC's Dylan Hoff (Chester Springs, Pa./Downingtown East) found a way to find the goal as time expired in the first quarter to give the Hornets a 6-4 advantage.
Hoff's goal was the first of six in a row for Lynchburg, which dominated possession time. That enabled to Hornets to open up an 11-4 lead in the third quarter, when Ian Shankland (Hampstead, N.C./John T. Hoggard) hit an unassisted goal for VWC to make it an 11-5 game.
Lynchburg pulled away for good in the fourth quarter with three straight goals before the Marlins' Travis Puls (Ellicott City, Md./Baltimore Mt. St. Joseph) stopped the run and scored the final goal of the game with 9:30 on the clock.
A bright spot for Virginia Wesleyan was the effort by junior goalie Corey Bauer (Lititz, Pa./Lancaster Catholic). Lynchburg bombarded the goal with 55 shots, but Bauer was on the spot to turn back a career high 20...tying the eighth highest single game total in VWC history.
Puls finished as the leading scoring for Virginia Wesleyan with a pair of goals. Adam Nycz (East Aurora, N.Y./Iroquois) and Nick Pappas (Edgewater, Md./South River) also scored a goal each. Mikey Connors (Horseheads, N.Y./Horseheads), Mike Moran (Woolwich, N.J./Kingsway) and Nycz all recorded an assist.
Max Voumard (Cape May, N.J./St. Augustine) led Lynchburg with six goals. Vin Curran (Hull, Mass./Cohasset) and Ben Sauer (Richmond, Va./Collegiate) added two assists each. Goalie Chris Rainwater (Oakton, Va./Oakton) finished with seven saves.