Second Half Firebird Surge Not Enough in 14-12 Loss to No. 13 Mercy

Zach Hart had a game-high five goals.
Zach Hart had a game-high five goals.

WASHINGTON, DC – The University of the District of Columbia men's lacrosse team was defeated, 14-12 by No. 13 nationally-ranked Mercy College in East Coast Conference play on Saturday afternoon at Cooper Field.

The Firebirds (3-3, 1-2 ECC) out-scored their guests, 8-4 and out-shot them, 22-14 in the 2nd half, but it was not enough to overcome a 10-4 halftime deficit, as UDC dropped its 2nd straight game against its 2nd consecutive nationally-ranked opponent.

Sophomore attack Zach Hart, junior midfielder LaRon Hinton and freshman attack Alan Singleton led the way offensively for UDC. Hart scored a game-high five goals, Hinton registered four goals and one assist, and Singleton dished out a game-high four assists.

Defensively, UDC freshman goalkeeper Nikolas Lund-Murray stopped eight of 22 shots faced in a complete game effort. The Firebirds as a team combined for a season-high 15 caused turnovers, including a game-high five by sophomore midfielder Tyler Mace.

Mercy, meanwhile, shook off last week's 8-4 loss to the No. 1 team in the nation, LeMoyne, as the Mavericks improved to 5-2 overall and 1-0 in league play.

The Mavericks featured six different goal scorers, including attack Daniel Speicher, Nick Wilcox and Tommy McPartland with three goals apiece. Speicher tied for the game-high of five points as he added two assists as well.

Mercy goalkeeper Ryan Gibbons was sensational as he stopped 15 of 27 shots faced for a complete game victory. Gibbons is now 2nd in the ECC with 70 saves this season.

UDC, the 9th leading scoring offense in NCAA Division II, took nearly nine minutes to get on the board with the first of five goals by Hart. Mercy had already taken a 2-0 advantage with a Speicher goal one minute in, and a Ryan MacSpadyen goal around the seven-minute mark. After Hart's goal, the Mavericks tacked on three straight goals to extend their lead to 5-1. Hart would score again with 1:10 remaining in the period, and the Firebirds would trail 5-2 at the end of the first quarter.

Mercy got off to a quick start in the 2nd quarter, scoring three straight goals to take a commanding, 8-2 lead. Hinton and Mace scored back-to-back goals at 10:46 and 9:33 in response for UDC, but the Mavericks scored the final two goals of the half, which included another Speicher goal with just 14 seconds remaining. Mercy led 10-4 at intermission.

Hart opened the scoring in the 3rd quarter when he scored his 3rd goal of the day – all three of those goals coming off of assists by Singleton. UDC went on to out-score Mercy 5-2 in the quarter and trailed only 12-9 heading into the final period.

The Mavericks took back control of the game at the start of the 4th quarter, however, as they won the first two faceoffs and scored back-to-back goals to push their lead to 14-9. Mercy won 4-of-6 faceoffs in the final quarter, and kept UDC off the scoreboard for over 10 minutes. Hinton ended the UDC silence just past the five-minute mark, then later scored a man-up goal with 1:08 remaining. Hart scored the game's final goal with only 16 seconds remaining to make it a two-goal game, but the Mavericks won the final face-off and ran out the clock.

UDC, for the game, out-shot Mercy 40-34, including a 27-22 disparity in shots on goal, won the ground ball battle, 36-31, had three fewer turnovers (21-18), and was a perfect 17-of-17 on clear attempts. The Mavericks won 18-of-30 faceoffs and seven more goalie saves.

Next up, UDC will take on non-conference foe Post University at Pomperaug High School in Southbury, CT on Saturday, March 25th.