St. Mary’s vs. Roanoke: Seahawks Top Maroons, 12-8, For Second Consecutive Opener

St Mary's
Photo via SMCM Athletics

Full disclosure, there are two teams in Division III lacrosse that can get me fired up: my alma mater Springfield College and my best friend’s alma mater St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Albert Mitchell was the Seahawks’ faceoff guy for four years and last year was second-team All-Capital, won 60 percent of his faceoffs and picked up 130 ground balls. I hung out with that team, I rooted for that team, I died with that team every time they lost to Salisbury and rose with them when they beat them in last year’s CAC Championship. So if it seems like I’m being less than objective when talking about SMCM, it’s because I am.

Back to the present, the Sehawks got right back to work in 2014 after a 2013 full of upsets by knocking off the No. 8 Roanoke Maroons 12-8 on Tuesday in a tilt that was pushed back a day due to the snow storm that crushed the east coast over the last week. These games have always been a victim of the weather, scheduled for the first week of the season in each of the past five seasons. But while the weather and its challenges haven’t changed, St. Mary’s has. After blowouts in 2010 and 2011 improved to a 12-6 loss in 2012, the Sehawks topped Roanoke in last year’s opener and followed that performance with another upset on Tuesday.

Matt Tarrant and Gordy Long kicked off their season with a bang, netting hat tricks to lead what should be one of the stronger midfield lines in the Capital. Patrick Regan (2 goals) and Conor Jordon (2 goals, 2 assists) led the attack unit while Will Lerch, the third midfielder on that top line, and Nate Babcock each netted one goal.

Colin Mackenzie and Tyler McWilliams each scored twice for Roanoke and represented the only Maroons to register more than one point. Michael Lintner, Joey Dashaw, Kevin Jackson and Colin Rossano all scored once while Will Pilat, Chad Smith and Steven Jackson all had an assist. Charles Pease represented himself well in net, making 16 saves despite giving up 12 goals.

The “hustle stats” were where this game was won, however. St. Mary’s held the advantage in ground balls (31-29), turnovers (14-21), and were perfect on clears (19-for-19) while Roanoke was not (15-17).

The game took a turn for the Seahawks late in the first quarter when Lerch’s goal gave SMCM a 3-2 lead with 1:34 to play in the first frame. Jordan and Tarrant would score in the second to take a 5-3 lead into the break before a four-goal third quarter tilted the game too for towards the visiting team. Roanoke made a push early in the fourth, closing the lead to 9-7 on back-to-back goals from McWilliams and Lintner just 1:07 apart, but St. Mary’s responded with three goals in 2:31 just a few minutes later.

Leading Scorers: St. Mary’s – Jordan (2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points); Roanoke – McWilliams, Mackenzie (2 goals, 2 points)
Goalkeepers: St. Mary’s – Zack Blewett (W, 8 GA, 9 saves); Roanoke – Pease (L, 12 GA, 16 saves)
Faceoffs: St. Mary’s – Reese Cassard (4-13), Teddy Secor (6-10); Roanoke – James Fisher (2-5), Max Kraus (8-15), Jonathan Paige (3-3)
Special Teams: St. Mary’s (1-3, Regan); Roanoke (2-3, Rossano and Mackenzie)