LAKEWOOD, NJ – Trailing 11-9 heading into the 4th quarter, the University of the District of Columbia Firebirds men's lacrosse team erupted for nine unanswered goals to defeat host Georgian Court University on a rainy Wednesday afternoon at the GCU Track & Field Complex.
The Firebirds (2-1) were led by four outstanding offensive performances by sophomore attack Zach Hart, junior midfielder LaRon Hinton, freshman attack Alan Singleton and sophomore midfielder Tyler Mace. Hart and Hinton each tied for a game-high seven points, as Hart scored six goals and added one assist, and Hinton had his 3rd straight five-goal game to go with two assists. Singleton, the reigning East Coast Conference Rookie of the Week, also added six goals, and Mace had a game-high four assists along with one goal scored.
Defensively, UDC sophomore goalkeeper Nikolas Lund-Murray stopped eight of 19 shots faced to earn a 2nd straight complete game victory. The Firebirds forced six caused turnovers, including a game-high three by freshman defender Garrin Adolphe.
The Lions (1-2), a 2nd year program which will become a member of a newly formed men's lacrosse league in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) in 2018, had three multiple-goal scorers, including Tanner Lee and Brandon Razler with three goals apiece. Jake Sherman registered four points on two goals and two assists, and Ryder Verdoni added four points as well on one goal and three assists.
GCU's starting goalkeeper Austin Geissel stopped 11 of 27 shots faced in the loss, and he was relieved for the final 3:21 by Chris Mulholland. The backup goalie Mullholand allowed two goals on two shots faced.
The first three quarters featured six ties and two lead changes, with the Lions seizing a two-goal lead twice in the 2nd quarter and twice in the 3rd quarter. Neither team led by more than two goals through the first three quarters played, but the Firebirds still did find themselves trailing by two heading into the final quarter.
Singleton kicked off the emphatic, 9-0 game-ending run for UDC with an unassisted goal about 45 seconds in. Next, Hart scored back-to-back unassisted goals 16 seconds apart at 9:39 and 9:23, and suddenly the Firebirds had their first lead of the game since the 1st quarter.
The UDC attack did not cease though, as Hinton, Mace and Singleton each tallied at 8:34, 8:03 and 6:09, respectively. Hinton went on to score back-to-back goals at 5:40 and 3:46, and Singleton added his and the Firebirds' final goal of the day at 2:47. UDC would win by its largest margin of the afternoon, 18-11.
The Firebirds won 20-of-32 faceoffs on the day as junior midfielder Teilen Celentano was an impressive, 20-for-28. As a result, UDC won the groundball battle, 36-28 and out-shot GCU, 48-35. The Firebirds also took advantage of 1-of-3 man-up opportunities while committing only two penalties and holding the Lions to 0-for-2 on man-up chances.
Next up, UDC opens East Coast Conference play on Saturday, March 4th at home vs. St. Thomas Aquinas College. The game will be played at St. Albans High School at 3 p.m.