February 1, 2014

Delaware, Lehigh Win in NCAA Men's Openers

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | McLaughlin Archive

Delaware defenseman James Connelly had three ground balls and two caused turnovers as the Blue Hens held High Point to just three goals on Saturday at Delaware Stadium. (Kevin P. Tucker)

Related Photo Galleries: Lehigh-Furman | Delaware-High Point

And we're off.

Lehigh and Delaware earned the first two wins of the NCAA Division I men's lacrosse season on Saturday, beating first-year program Furman and second-year team High Point, respectively, to kick off the 2014 campaign.

The Mountain Hawks, ranked 16th in the preseason by Lacrosse Magazine, defeated Furman 13-6 in the Paladins' program-debut in upper 40-degree temperatures in South Carolina. The Blue Hens, meanwhile -- who traditionally play on the first day of the season -- took down High Point 10-3 in similar weather conditions farther north at Delaware Stadium.

Lehigh attackmen Patrick Corbett and Reid Weber scored three goals while midfielder Cody Ferraro also had three and one assist for the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh outscored Furman 8-1 in the second and third quarters after being knotted at 2 at the end of the first. Dan Taylor added a goal for Lehigh.

The Mountain Hawks outshot Furman 42-15 and held an edge in ground balls, 30-19. Ryan Buttenbaum won 13 of 22 faceoffs.

"There were some good things, some bad things. I thought both teams were sloppy at spots, but I thought both teams played really hard," Lehigh coach Kevin Cassese said. "It was a physical battle. I was impressed with Furman. They played really hard and came out with nothing to lose. A pretty close game heading into halftime, we needed a big second half to gain some separation."

In the program debut for Furman, led by Team USA coach Richie Meade, a freshman and Georgia native, attackman Matt Geran, scored the first goal in the team's varsity history.

Delaware got goals from eight different players. Steve Delargy and Jeff Heath notched two apiece while sophomore and Florida-native goalie Conor Peaks made a career-best 15 saves. High Point's Austin Geisler made 13 saves on the other end and Dan Lomas scored one goal on 11 shots.

Delaware won its 12th straight season-opener.

"We really focused this week on their strengths, our guys did a great job preparing, and it paid off," Delaware head coach Bob Shillinglaw said. "This is a group that plays well together, they enjoy each other, and they have developed a good chemistry. Conor did a great job today and our defense created saveable shots that he came through on. We made them battle for every shot they took."

Blue Hens defenseman James Connelly held High Point's Matt Thistle to no shots attempted, and Connelly had three ground balls and two caused turnovers. Delaware won the faceoff battle, 17-10.

"Obviously this isn't how we wanted to start the season," High Point coach Jon Torpey said. "I felt we made some good defensive adjustments in the second half but our offense just never came together today. Delaware is a very good team and they buried shots early and we had to play catch up the entire game."

The next scheduled Division I men's game is for Thursday when Loyola heads to Virginia for an intriguing early-season tilt in Charlottesville. The Greyhounds fell to North Carolina by an unofficial 12-9 scrimmage score on Saturday while the Cavaliers took care of Navy, 14-5.

Scrimmage Scribbles

In other scrimmage action Saturday, No. 2 Syracuse beat Towson, 13-12, in a game in which Onondaga CC transfer Randy Staats scored three goals off the bench. Nicky Galasso remained out with an injured hand. Heralded freshman Jordan Evans went down with an apparent leg injury and did not return. The Orange continued to struggle on faceoffs as they did last season. Towson held the edge, 17-12. Chris Daddio, Syracuse's primary faceoff man, went 8-for-18 and Nassau CC transfer Mike Iacono was 1-for-5.

Syracuse starting goalie Dominic Lamolinara made five first-half saves and Bobby Wardwell made four with two goals against in the second half. Greg Cuccinello and Max Siskind had two goals apiece for Towson and attackman Tom DeNapoli had a goal and one assist. The Orange's starting attack was the same as it was a year ago -- Dylan Donahue, Derek Maltz and Kevin Rice. Donahue finished with a game-high five points and Rice had four.

At Homewood Field in Baltimore, Penn State bested Johns Hopkins 14-6 unofficially... In a Midwestern meeting, Michigan defeated Marquette 18-9. The Wolverines finished on a 10-0 scoring run... Elsewhere, the Ivy League programs, per league policy, were permitted to practice for the first time this season on Saturday as well.

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