Firebirds Soar Past St. Thomas Aquinas for 3rd Straight Win

Hinton, the nation's leading scorer, tallied 7 pts. today on six goals and one assist.
Hinton, the nation's leading scorer, tallied 7 pts. today on six goals and one assist.

WASHINGTON, DC – The University of the District of Columbia men's lacrosse team earned its program-record third consecutive win, 17-9 vs. St. Thomas Aquinas College in its East Coast Conference season opener on a chilly Saturday afternoon at Steuart Field.

The Firebirds (3-1, 1-0 ECC) were led offensively by the nation's leading scorer entering the game - junior attack LaRon Hinton (six goals, one assist) and the nation's 5th leading scorer entering the game - sophomore attack Zach Hart (six goals). Also, sophomore midfielder Tyler Mace had two goals and three assists, and NCAA Division II's 8th leading scorer, freshman attack Alan Singleton, had two goals and two assists.

UDC was 20-of-29 on face-offs today, with junior midfielder Teilen Celentano winning 80-percent (20) of his 25 faceoff attempts. Celentano also scooped up a game-high nine ground balls and registered one goal and one assist.

Defensively, freshman goalkeeper Nikolas Lund-Murray improved to 3-1 on the year by stopping a season-high 15 of 24 shots faced. Five different Firebirds had at least one caused turnover, including Mace with a game-high three, and senior defender Jhamed Owens with two.

The Spartans (2-1), a 2nd year program that had won back-to-back games vs. American International (16-3) and Saint Rose (8-7) to open the season, suffered its first loss of the year today. They featured five different goal scorers, including midfielder Tyler Senatore, attack Thomas Hollway, reserve Brenton Mighty, and attack Briele Caples with two goals apiece. Mighty and Caples each had an assist as well.

STAC goalkeeper Ryan Mello (2-1) stopped 10 of 27 shots faced in a complete game effort, suffering his first loss of the year in goal.

Hollway opened the scoring on the day with a goal nearly five minutes into the action off of an assist by Caples, and STAC had an early 1-0 lead. Hinton finally put the Firebirds on the board with an unassisted goal nearly nine minutes into the game, and that goal began a 3-0 burst to end the quarter. Hinton would also cap that run with his 2nd goal just before the one-minute mark, and UDC led 3-1 at the end of the opening period.

Two straight goals by Senatore – the 2nd one on a man-up opportunity – resulted in a 3-3 tie exactly seven minutes into the 2nd quarter. UDC, however, went on to out-score the Spartans, 3-1 the rest of the period, aided by two Hart goals and a goal and an assist by Mace. The Firebirds led 6-4 at halftime.

The third quarter belonged to UDC right from the get-go, as Celentano won the opening faceoff and fired two consecutive shots on goal before beating Mello for the first goal of the period 41 seconds in. Hart would tack on two goals, Hinton added three, and Mace and Singleton pitched in one apiece as the Firebirds out-scored STAC 8-2 in the 3rd quarter and extended their lead to 14-6.

UDC and STAC played to a standstill in the 4th quarter with both teams tallying three goals each, but with the Firebirds already ahead by eight, they coasted to a 17-9 victory.

The Firebirds won by an eight-goal margin today despite 23 turnovers and 10 minutes and 30 seconds worth of penalties on 13 infractions. They outshot the Spartans, 40-34 and had a narrow, 29-28 edge in ground balls.

Next up, UDC will visit league foe and No. 5 nationally-ranked New York Institute of Technology on Saturday, March 11th at 3 p.m.