The Hobart College lacrosse team snapped a four-game slide with a suffocating defensive performance in a 5-4 victory over Bryant University on Boswell Field at the Caird Center for Sports and Recreation this afternoon. Senior midfielder Mike White scored the game-winner with 5:12 remaining in the contest to send the Bulldogs to their fourth straight loss.
Senior goalie Evan Kirk backstopped the Hobart defense with nine saves, while the defense in front of him limited the number of times Bryant was able to get off a shot in open space. Sophomore defenseman Jake Eisenhard recorded career-highs with four ground balls and four caused turnovers, while senior long-stick midfielder Alex Caton scooped up a team-high five ground balls and caused two turnovers.
“I thought the defense played great and Evan [Kirk] made some big saves,” Head Coach T.W. Johnson said. “We did a good job of doubling the ball and making them a little bit uncomfortable passing the ball. [Bryant] put the ball on the ground and we got some first touch ground balls in our defensive end and were able to get it down to the offense.”
Bryants’ four goals are the fewest by a Hobart opponent since the Statesmen limited Bucknell to just two tallies on March 7, 2009.
The Bullodogs (2-4) were nearly as stingy on the defensive end, getting eight saves from junior goalie Jameson Love. Sophomore defenseman Mason Poli posted game-highs with six ground balls and five caused turnovers.
On the offensive end of the field, 11 different players scored the goals with Hobart sophomore attackman Tyler Simmons and first-year attackman Alex Love and Bryant junior midfielder Max Weisenberg registering two-point days.
Weisenberg and sophomore attackman JK Poirier accounted for the first two goals of the game, giving the visitors the early momentum.
Appropriately enough, Hobart’s first goal came from a defensive middie, junior Matt Campbell fired his first career goal off a Love assist to make it a 2-1 game with 4:29 left in the first quarter.
First-year attackman Dan Sipperly restored the Bulldogs’ two-goal lead with 2:03 left in the opening frame, but Simmons played beat the clock, scoring with six ticks left to leave Bryant a 3-2 edge entering the second quarter.
Love scored the only goal of the second quarter to send the teams into halftime tied 3-all.
Weisenberg set up sophomore attackman Peter McMahon early in the third quarter to give the Bulldogs their final lead of the day.
Late in the third quarter, Hobart (2-4) earned an extra-man opportunity. Junior attackman Sam Miller took a feed from classmate Chris Pedersen and fired a straight on 20-yard shot through the back of the net. After the officials inspected the hole in the netting and conferred, Miller was awarded his team-leading 12th goal of the year, tying the game with a quarter to play.
Hobart finished the game 1-for-4 on the extra-man and did not commit a penalty for the second time this season.
Bryant won the faceoff to start the final frame and took the first shot, but Kirk was up to the task, making his final save of the day. After trading possession a couple of times, the Statesmen set up for the game-winner. Simmons, stationed below the goal line passed to White, who was to the left of the cage 12-yards out. He’d been stopped on his previous three shots on goal, but at the urging of Assistant Coach Mark Williamson ’04, White dropped his aim to the goalie’s feet. It was just what the doctor ordered, giving the Statesmen a 5-4 lead.
Junior midfielder Bobby Dattilo won the ensuing faceoff for Hobart. He finished the game 7-of-13 at the X with three ground balls. Four times down the stretch, the Bulldog defense was able to force Statesmen turnovers, but each time, failed to clear the ball.
Bryant turned the ball over a total of 24 times, the most by a Hobart opponent this season, while the visitors clearing rate, .654, is the lowest by a Statesmen opponent this year. For its part, Hobart was below its season average for turnovers with 18 and successfully cleared on 20 of 21 tries.
The Statesmen will be back in action on Tuesday, March 22, when Canisius visits Geneva. The game will be televised by Time Warner Sports and is scheduled to begin at 8:07 p.m.