Fourth-quarter surge leads Virginia Wesleyan past Greensboro
VIRGINIA BEACH -- Somehow in the midst of battle to find the ball following a missed scoring attempt by Virginia Wesleyan College, Marlins senior Mike Connors found it nestled in the mud in front of the goal.
Before anyone else could react, including the Greensboro College goalie, Connors (Horeseheads, N.Y./Horseheads) picked it up and flicked it into the net to give Virginia Wesleyan its first real breathing room in a tight contest with the Pride.
The goal stretched a VWC lead to 11-8 and helped carry the Marlins to a 12-9 non-conference win on a muddy Foster Field at the Trinder Center on Saturday.
Connors' goal, with 9:33 remaining in the fourth quarter, was part of a three-goal run by the Marlins (2-0) to end an 8-all deadlock after three quarters of play. Sophomore Mike Moran (Woolwich, N.J./Kingsway Regional) snapped the tie at the 13:29 mark of the fourth quarter with a score from the right off a feed from sophomore Joe Papetti (Edgewater, Md./South River).
Two minutes later the Marlins moved out to a 10-8 lead when standout rookie Josh Currier (Peterborough, Ontario/Holy Cross-Hill Academy) scored off an assist by junior Nick Pappas (Edgewater, Md./South River). With 9:33 on the clock, Connors came through with his score that gave VWC its first three-goal lead of the contest.
It was a tight contest from the start, including eight ties and three lead changes. Virginia Wesleyan never trailed after Moran scored with 1:40 remaining in the first quarter, assisted by Currier. Greensboro (0-4) kept the pressure on the Marlins by tying the game five times thereafter, but the Pride could never find the go-ahead goal.
Currier led all scoring with three goals and four assists, followed by Moran with three goals and an assist. Connors added two goals and sophomores Devynn Kelly (Harwood, Md./Southern) and Tim Gunn (Sparks, Md./Hereford) and Pappas and Papetti tallied a goal each. Pappas also had two assists.
Alex Vander Hoff (Apex, N.C./Apex) and Ryan McNamara (Baltimore, Md./Lutheran) led Greensboro with a pair of goals each. The Pride was helped by the face-off efforts of Skip Jakupi (Greensboro, N.C./Grimsley), who won 15-of-23 attempts.
Senior goalie Corey Bauer (Lititz, Pa./Lancaster Catholic) had an outstanding game for the Marlins, producing 21 saves. Greensboro goalie Mitchell Kanowicz (Leonardtown, Md./Leonardtown) finished with 11.
Virginia Wesleyan competes again on Saturday, March 2, taking on Georgia's Berry College at 1 p.m. The game will be played in Charlotte, N.C.