Lexington, KY. - The Transylvania men's lacrosse team fell at home in an intense struggle to the Berry Vikings 10-5 on a sopping-wet Saturday afternoon at Pat Deacon Stadium.
An afternoon that began as a promising defensive affair for the Pioneers following their 7-2 season-opening triumph one week ago turned into a different kind of storm waged by the visiting Vikings in the middle 30 minutes.
After midfielder Zack Riggs opened up the afternoon with a fiery goal five minutes and 15 seconds into the contest, both teams grappled and clawed in an increasingly physical game with one another. Amidst the chippiness and slick and blustery conditions, both teams struggled to maintain ownership of the ball as aspirations for goals were reduced to small victories in controlling possessions.
Berry finally broke through nearly three and a half minutes into the second quarter by scoring a man-up goal to knot the game at a goal apiece. From that point on, Berry began to hit its stride, posting two more goals before the half to take a 3-1 lead at the break.
The Vikings pounced quickly out of the intermission with three straight goals on a determined Pioneers side. Senior midfielder Sam Ives stopped the run with a quick sprint to the goal and score after the Pioneers won a faceoff at the 9:39 mark of the third quarter. But Berry struck back less than minute later to retake a five-goal advantage at 7-2. In full, the Vikings answered Ives's goal with three more unanswered goals to take a powerful 9-2 advantage with 12:50 left in the game.
Transylvania refused to back down, and weathered a string of five major penalties by Berry in a 10-second span midway through the fourth quarter. Taking advantage of multiple man-up opportunities, the Pioneers quickly tacked on three more goals to slice Berry's lead to four with six minutes remaining in regulation. But the Vikings effectively churned away time and added one more goal for size to grab a 10-5 lead for the final margin of victory.
The Pioneers put in five goals on 19 shots on goal, but struggled with overall efficiency on the day, notching those 19 shots on goal within 42 total shots. Despite the undesired result, the Pioneers achieved small victories in some of the usual places, such as faceoff wins where Transylvania was a combined 13-for-16 on the day. Riggs led the charge in faceoffs, winning seven of his eight duels. The Pioneers were nearly perfect on clears, clearing 20 of 22 chances.
Ben Erwin led the Pioneers in total points with two assists, while five different players each registered a goal for Transylvania. Riggs picked up his fourth goal of the season after tallying a hat-trick in the season opener last week.
The Pioneers have an immediate opportunity to bounce back from their first loss of the year with a Monday night lacrosse showdown as they host Baldwin-Wallace at Pat Deacon Stadium as they continue their early season homestand. First faceoff is set for 5:00 p.m.
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