HILLBURN, NY – The University of the District of Columbia men's lacrosse team has set program records for overall and conference wins in a season as the visiting Firebirds defeated East Coast Conference foe Dominican College, 12-6 in its season finale Saturday afternoon at Torne Valley Complex.
The Firebirds, who muscled past the Chargers by out-scoring the hosts, 8-2 in the second half, finish the season 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the ECC. Dominican fell to 6-9 overall and 1-7 in league play with the loss.
Junior midfielder LaRon Hinton and sophomore attack Zach Hart - both tied for No. 4 in the nation in goals per-game average entering today's game - each scored a hat trick to lead UDC's offensive attack. Hinton also pitched in two assists today, as he finishes the year with single-season program records in points (57) and goals (41). Hart finishes tied with Hinton for the single-season record of 41 goals, and is now 2nd on the all-time single-season list with 47 points to conclude this year.
Meanwhile, freshman attack Alan Singleton and sophomore midfielder Tyler Mace were both major contributors offensively today as well. Singleton, who entered today ranked 14th in the country for assists per-game, pitched in one assist to go with two goals. His 21 assists this season rank No. 1 on the program's single-season record list, and his 21 goals this year rank No. 4 overall and No. 2 by a freshman. Mace, who added one goal and two assists today, finishes close behind with 18 assists this year. The Firebirds, collectively, finished the 2017 season with program records for team goals (148) and team assists (73).
Defensively, sophomore goalkeeper Nikolas Lund-Murray stopped 18 of 24 shots faced in a complete game victory. His save percentage was a season-best 75-percent, and he was one save shy of his season-high, 19. He was supported by a stellar Firebirds defense that created a season-high 18 caused turnovers. Senior defender Louis Laurore, playing in his final game as a Firebird, had a career and game-high five caused turnovers today, and fellow senior defender, Jhamed Owens, was one of four UDC players with two caused turnovers. The Firebirds also held Dominican to 1-of-6 on man-up opportunities.
Also key in the Firebirds' win today was junior midfielder Teilen Celentano, who won 12-of-17 faceoffs for UDC today. Entering the game ranked 6th in the nation for ground balls per-game, he scooped up a game-high six ground balls today. His 85 ground balls this season is a new UDC single-season record, and his 160 faceoff wins this season beats his previous program record mark of 149 set in 2015.
Junior Syrrus Nash scored UDC's first two goals of the game in the 1st quarter – both assisted by Mace, and senior defender Clifford Strickland scored his first collegiate goal in his last game as a Firebird with just 27 seconds remaining in the opening period to give UDC a 3-1 lead. Dominican answered in the 2nd quarter as the Chargers scored back-to-back goals at 12:45 and 10:17 to force a 3-all tie. Hart then scored the first of his three goals on the day at the 8:20 mark, but Michael Reyes forced another tie, 4-4, with a goal at 4:22. The Firebirds and Chargers went to intermission tied at four apiece.
The 3rd quarter belonged to the Firebirds. Singleton, who would score two goals and assist another in the quarter, opened the scoring with an unassisted goal at 13:35. It then took a little over eight minutes to score the next one, but Hinton's unassisted man-down goal at 5:21 was followed by three more Firebird goals in a span of just over three minutes. First, Hart scored off of an assist by Singleton at 4:27, then another goal by Hinton at 3:02, and finally another goal by Singleton at 2:11. UDC out-scored the Chargers, 5-0 in the 3rd quarter and took a 9-4 lead heading into the final period.
The Firebirds' momentum carried into the 4th quarter where Hart and Mace tacked on another two back-to-back goals – both assisted by Hinton – and UDC led 11-4 after a 7-0 surge that spanned the 3rd and 4th quarters. Dominican's Nick D'Alessandro then scored at the 10:10 mark, and he assisted a Chris Heegan man-up goal at 6:19 to make it 11-6, but Hinton scored his final goal of the day for UDC at the 5:34 mark to finish the scoring for the day. UDC went on to win by a final of 12-6.
Chargers goalkeeper Carlos Villaman stopped 16 of 28 shots faced in a complete game effort. Defensively, Dominican caused 15 UDC turnovers and held the Firebirds to 0-for-5 on man-up opportunities.
UDC was 13-of-21 on faceoffs, had four fewer turnovers (28-24), six more ground balls (32-26), and two more goalie saves (18-16).
The Firebirds say goodbye to three graduating senior defenders: Jhamed Owens, Louis Laurore and Clifford Strickland, but head coach Rodger Colbert will return 13 of his 16 student-athletes in his 2nd season at the helm in Spring 2018.