Lexington, Ky. – Entering a critical must-win situation with multiple implications, the Transylvania men's lacrosse team came through with a decisive 9-5 victory against the St. Vincent College Bearcats in the Ohio River Lacrosse Conference 2016 season opener for both sides.
The win gave the Pioneers a crucial home win against the 2015 ORLC co-champions, who the Pioneers tied with for the season title and later beat in last spring's conference tournament title game. It concurrently extinguished a four-game losing streak for the Pioneers in front of a raucous home crowd at Pat Deacon Stadium on Saturday.
Transylvania improved to 2-4 and 1-0 in ORLC conference play, while the Bearcats fell to 1-4 overall and 0-1 in their conference slate.
The Pioneers came out with a relentless passion at home after an undesired week of results on the road, scoring three times before the 12:00 mark of the first quarter to take a breathtaking 3-0 lead. Saturday hat-trick hero Andrew Meyer, Alex Cherry, and Zack Riggs all keyed the charge with opening minute goals for the Pios.
The momentum remained with the Pioneers in the first quarter as Evan Wright assisted his brother Tanner Wright on a goal at 8:08 in the first quarter to help the Pioneers take off from the Pat Deacon runway.
Meyer fired off his second goal of the day with 2:51 left in the first quarter, sending Transylvania to the end of the first quarter with a 5-0 advantage.
The Pioneers continued pouring it on in the second quarter, with Meyer achieving his hat-trick on a goal at the 5:17 mark of the second quarter. Ben Erwin padded the lead to 7-0 with a goal inside the one-minute mark of the first half, and the Pioneers appeared ready to shift ahead.
St. Vincent quickly showed off their halftime adjustments with a goal 1:49 into the second half from Tim Oxenreiter to cut their deficit to 7-1. Meyer converted again for Transylvania less than a minute to increase their comfort, but it would erode into anxiety for the rest of the second half. The Bearcats then posted three unanswered goals to craft a manageable 8-4 deficit heading into the final quarter.
After nearly a half-quarter of jousting, St. Vincent again was able to find a sliver in Transylvania goalie Cooper Fogle's armor, scoring on a quick setup to pull within three goals at 8-5. But Transylvania's sharp defense brought them home and held the Bearcats without a goal the rest of the way. Evan Wright scored his second goal of the day with 4:40 left to put the game out of question and build the 9-5 final.
Transylvania moved the ball crisply on this day, going 21-for-23 on clear opportunities and outscooping St. Vincent 27-22 in ground balls. Goalkeeper Cooper Fogle was admirable behind goal, producing a 67% save percentage. Specialists Sam Ives and Riggs also did their part on face-offs, teaming to win 13 of 18 face-offs on the day.
Transylvania has just a few days to savor the clutch win before a turnaround on Tuesday at 5 p.m., when they host Oberlin College.
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