With the season rolling on, Wheaton’s men’s lacrosse team was unable to squeeze out a win against conference rival Coast Guard Academy. The contest was ultimately closer than the box score suggests, as the 10-5 loss featured strong individual performances from a number of Wheaton’s finest.
The game began with some up-tempo, back-and-forth action, which resulted in a go-ahead goal from Wheaton’s Matt Morgan ’19 in the second minute of action. Coast Guard would not sit idly by, as it retaliated with its own Matty Johnson’s eighth goal of the season, and went ahead just two minutes later with Riley McNulty’s twenty-second goal of the year. McNulty would score again just a minute later, putting Coast Guard up 3-1 heading into the second quarter. This was a common theme for Coast Guard in this contest, as McNulty would score four of its 10 goals and assisted on two more, including the first from Johnson.
Momentum was on the side of Coast Guard here, as it added to its lead with another goal about five minutes into the period. Wheaton would not be discouraged, however, as it was able to claw its way back to within two with another goal by Morgan, assisted on by Alex Stomberg ’19. This struggle for footing would only grow larger with another Coast Guard goal, coming with four minutes in the half remaining. With a 5-2 deficit heading into the second half of play, Wheaton was not discouraged, as the team members left the field with their heads high.
Unfortunately for Wheaton, the second half started as dominantly for Coast Guard as the box score suggested, as it held control for a four-minute period wherein it padded its lead with another goal. The Lyons clearly needed a spark here, and that came with just over three minutes remaining in the period when Josh Talanian ’19 slipped a goal past Coast Guard for his twenty-third of the season. Spoiling the fun just minutes later was McNulty, putting the Wheaton deficit right where it was before. At this point, it was clear for Wheaton that it needed to ignite soon if it was to topple Coast Guard and bring its conference record to .500.
The spark it needed came in the form of another goal from Morgan 20 seconds into the quarter on a man-up opportunity carried over from a 30-second penalty received by Coast Guard in the last 10 seconds of the third quarter. The balance at this point seemed to shift in Wheaton’s favor for the longest stretch of the game, as the team scored, this one coming from Scott Whear ’18, again on another extra-man opportunity about four minutes later. This is about where the good news ended for Wheaton, unfortunately, as Coast Guard would rally to score three more goals in the game, with McNulty shining in the closing moments.
It was a heartbreaker for the Lyons, as it gave its all only to lack the firepower and execution needed to top Coast Guard. While the season as a whole has been far from a disappointment, the consensus remains that the team will have to tighten up heading into the final stretch. About this game and the upcoming run, Morgan said, “Coast Guard is a very strong, athletic and disciplined team. We could’ve done better at the face-off and had fewer turnovers especially when trying to clear the ball. With that being said, that game is in the past and we have turned the page and everybody’s main focus [is] on Clark.”
The Lyons faced Clark on Saturday, April 14, on the road.