Lexington, Va. – Making its second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday night, the Transylvania men's lacrosse team took a 23-5 defeat against the Washington and Lee University Generals at Wilson Field.
Facing the regular season champions of the vaunted OId Dominion Athletic Conference, the Pioneers witnessed an overwhelming opening flurry by the Generals, who scored the first eight goals of the day to craft a domineering lead.
Sophomore long-stick midfielder T.J. Toivonen led the scoring breakthrough for the Pioneers, striking the net inside the final minute of the first quarter to make it an 8-1 lead in favor of the hosts.
Washington and Jefferson continued to flex its muscles in the second quarter, outscoring the Pioneers 6-0 to take a 14-1 lead at the half.
Transylvania began to find its footing as the Pios extended offensive possessions and mounted dynamic attacks against the Generals. Senior attacker Brad Clements got the second half off on the right foot for the Pioneers as he scored on a setup from freshman midfielder Kayd Aquino for the second Transylvania goal of the day.
The Generals imposed their will on the contest again, scoring five unanswered goals to assert a 19-3 advantage with time winding down in the third quarter.
Junior attacker Nic Bailey scored late in the third quarter to shave Washington and Lee's distance to 19-4, but the Generals scored twice more to end the third quarter with a 21-4 lead.
The Pioneers dug in their heels defensively in the fourth quarter as both teams jousted to a combined three goals in the final quarter. Aquino scored the final goal of the season for the Pioneers and his first in an NCAA Tournament game to close out the day.
Wednesday's defeat marked the end of another productive journey, one that took place for the Pioneers in just their sixth year of existence under head coach Terry Justice, who has overseen the program's evolution every step of the way.
"Overall, it was another successful season and the boys learned a lot," reflected Justice after the contest. "Obviously our youth showed in a contest like today's against a much more established team, but the guys are ready to go back to work this offseason and we want to return to this stage. For such a youthful team to accomplish what they did, winning their fourth straight ORLC Tournament title against some great odds, to be on the field with Washington and Lee today is a great honor."
Washington and Lee won the face-off battle, seizing 21 of 32 face-offs and cleared effectively, advancing the ball past the restraining line 18 of 19 times. Transylvania was 13 for 23 on clears.
The Generals' physicality was on display as they scooped 45 ground balls to the Pioneers' 22. "I think today's game shows that we're not at the end line yet, that there's still a lot of work that has to be done," added Justice. "It's work our players have to do in the offseason themselves, things like conditioning and hitting the weight room; if we want to get to the level of play we want to achieve, those are things it takes to get there, and it will require hard work."
The Pioneers completed their sixth season with an overall record of 12-7, a second-place regular season finish with a 9-1 Ohio River Men's Lacrosse Conference record and the team's fourth straight conference tournament title after swarming St. Vincent to a 12-2 win.
For the second straight year, the program completed the season on the sport's largest stage, the NCAA Tournament.
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