February 6, 2010

Bellarmine Holds Off Detroit Mercy in Opener

from press release

Freshman Joel Matthews (St. Catharines, ON/Holy Cross) scored four goals in his sparkling Detroit lacrosse debut and the Titans led through much of the early going, but it wasn’t enough as visiting Bellarmine came from behind to post a 12-8 victory on Saturday afternoon.
The game was the first of the 2010 NCAA Division I lacrosse season and was played before an enthusiastic crowd of 1,565 at the Ultimate Soccer Arena in Pontiac.
“I thought it was obvious we’ve made huge strides since last year,” said coach Matt Holtz, whose team went winless in its first season of existence (2009). “We’re starting almost all freshmen and sophomores and they’ll make some mistakes sometimes, but it was a good experience for us and we’ll get some wins along the way.”
Off a feed from freshman Chris Nemes (Novi, MI/Catholic Central), Matthews scored the first goal of the season just 44 seconds into the contest and, by the time junior Tim Lehto (Farmington, MI/North Farmington) found the back of the net 12 seconds before the end of the opening quarter, Detroit held a 5-4 lead.
The second stanza belonged to Bellarmine, though, as the Knights scored five straight goals – two of them by Austin Bright, who joined Shane Andersen in tallying a game-high three for BU – before Matthews could register with 1:35 left in the half to cut the Detroit deficit to 9-6.
As play continued, the young Titans showed they had one big comeback left in them. Sophomore Scott Harris (Saline, MI/Saline) tallied twice, once on an extra-man opportunity and once at even strength, to pull Detroit within 9-8 with 1:29 left in the third quarter. But Bellarmine responded twice before the clock hit zero, and once more in the final quarter while holding Detroit scoreless despite heavy pressure by the Titan attack, as BU salted away its victory.
“We came out strong and I think we kind of caught them a little off guard,” Holtz said. “They might not have known about the strides we’ve made since last season.”
Or the punch in Matthews’ stick, too.
“Joel will be a phenomenal player for us,” Holtz complimented. “He must be a diamond in the rough or whatever you call it, but we found him when he didn’t have a lot of other offers and I’m excited to have him on our team. He’s going to be a great player for us.”
Bellarmine (1-0) held a slight 34-29 advantage in shots, as UDM freshman goalie A.J. Levell (Columbus, OH/Dublin Scioto) notched eight saves in his first college game. Bellarmine maintained a 41-31 edge in ground balls.
Detroit (0-1) will return to action on March 7 when it hosts Quinnipiac at Titan Field.

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