Postscript from Gettysburg at Goucher
Life on the Goucher campus could be better, but there are two encouraging signs despite the Gophers’ 0-2 start.
The defense has surrendered just 13 goals in both losses, including just six in a two-goal loss to No. 12 Gettysburg on Wednesday at Beldon Field in Towson.
Senior Justin Dunn has been living up to his honorable-mention All-American status from a year ago, but the Gophers have been buoyed by the emergence of sophomore defensemen Bryce Carson and Paul Taylor and sophomore goalie Connor Mishaw.
Add freshman long-stick midfielder Ralph Bilotta and a pair of short-stick defensive midfielders in sophomore Tim Brashear and freshman Stephen Patterson, and it’s easy to see why coach Kyle Hannan is cautiously optimistic about that unit.
“I think our defense is playing really well right now,” he said. “Obviously, the numbers show that. And the good thing is that it’s still a very young defense. So there’s a lot of room to grow at that end of the field. We’re playing a sophomore goalie in his first year of starting, two sophomore defensemen, an all-freshmen defensive midfield. The youngest group on our team through two games has been the most successful group on the field. I’m excited about the way that they’re playing and if they continue to play like that and the offense picks it up, we’re going to be in pretty good shape.”
Goucher isn’t feeling so great about being mired in an 0-2 hole, but this program got off to the same start last season before ending the regular season on a 14-1 run.
“We were in this predicament last year,” junior attackman Rory Averett noted. “But it would be nice to have a win instead of being 0-2. We’ve just got to play well on Saturday [against Randolph-Macon] and hope for a win.”
*The Gophers got all four goals and one assist from their starting attack of juniors Kyle Boncaro and Averett and freshman George Skelos, but only a pair of assists from the starting midfield of juniors Matt Lynch and Pat Peddicord and sophomore Zach Fratella. Still, Hannan said the onus is on both the midfield and attack to work cooperatively to create scoring opportunities. “There were other times when I thought it was the other way around. The midfield was doing ok, and the attack wasn’t executing the way they should’ve,” he said. “So I don’t think you can really look at one or the other. They need to play together. There can’t be separation there. For us to win games against teams like Gettysburg, the midfield has to be on top of their game, and the attack has to be on top of their game.”
*Among the trio of Gettysburg’s top point producers is junior attackman Pat Sartory, an Ellicott City native and McDonogh graduate. Sartory, who recorded one goal and two assists in the Bullets’ win against Goucher said starting all 18 games last spring -- a second in which he contributed 29 goals and nine assists – aided his development. “I think it’s what I expected,” Sartory said of joining senior midfielders Danno Lynch and J.C. Ward with seven points each. “The game slows down a little bit once you’ve been a starter for a year. I’ve just tried to step up and take more of a leadership role. But we have so many great guys on this team that’s it’s not really just about me.”
*The Bullets have advanced to the NCAA final three times since 2001 and are 2-1 thus far. Gettysburg gets a stiff test in No. 3 Salisbury on Saturday, but coach Hank Janczyk was encouraged by the team’s resolve in turning the 2-0 deficit against the Gophers into a 6-2 advantage. “This program has been doing pretty well for a long time, but we haven’t been playing good lacrosse yet,” Janczyk said. “… We just kept hanging in there. You’ve just got to keep believing. What do you do when things aren’t going your way? What do you do when you’re not scoring goals or you’re not playing the way you know you can play? You just keep believing, you just keep working hard, wait for things to pop, make a few changes, and then you hope for the best.”