Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania men's lacrosse team continued their strong start to Ohio River Lacrosse Conference season play, slipping by the visiting Washington & Jefferson Presidents, 7-6 on Friday at Pat Deacon Stadium.
The Pioneers improved to 3-5 overall and 2-0 against ORLC competition in their early spring campaign. Goalie Cooper Fogle led the charge with one of his finest performances of the season, making 16 saves as the Pioneers held tight down the stretch to generate a defensively-flavored win.
Seven Pioneers each contributed one goal, all equally imperative in the 7-6 win; Ben Erwin made the offensive noise with three points.
The Pioneers battled to gain separation all night from the visiting Presidents, but Washington & Jefferson refused to back away. After a long opening struggle, Zach Roby finally put the first point on the board with a goal at 5:10 left in the first quarter. But the Presidents quickly answered back with the tying goal less than a minute later. The two teams traded two goals each in the second quarter to reach a 3-3 deadlock at the half. The Pioneers broke a drought of nearly 14 minutes with the first career goal of Ryan Staley's career with 1:07 left in the half. But the Presidents again answered swiftly, tying the game 20 seconds later.
The Pioneers gained more traction in the third quarter where they doubled up the Presidents 4-2 in goals to take a 7-5 lead to the fourth quarter. Rob Rhea took a powerful surge for the second goal of the third quarter after Zack Riggs became the first player to notch a goal in the second half. A third unanswered goal into the third quarter by Josh Mesmer provided the Pioneers with their largest lead of the game at 6 to 3. But Washington & Jefferson scored two of the final three goals in the quarter to stay within reach of the hometown Pioneers.
The fourth quarter featured a series of nitty-gritty plays as the walls closed up on the relentless Pioneers. Transylvania was forced to buckle down defensively as they were held without a goal for the final 21:38 of the game. But the Pioneers relied on their fundamentals and tried-and-true "little things," holding firm to their innate abilities to clear the ball again and again, going 24-for-26 on rides, including 5-for-6 in the final quarter. Transylvania also won the ground ball category 31-21, including 16 to 7 in the second half to eliminate further opportunities for the visitors.
After securing the crucial win, the Pioneers now look ahead to a road contest next Saturday at Thiel before reprising the home portion of their schedule on Tuesday, April 5 versus Centre. The Pioneers now have six games remaining in their regular season and hope to extend it with a passionate postseason run.