April 19, 2014

Mercyhurst Holds Off Fiesty Wheeling Jestui

from press release

WHEELING, W. Va. - The #4 Mercyhurst men's lacrosse team won, 7-5, at #11 Wheeling Jesuit Saturday afternoon. Trevor Vargo scored three goals in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) match.

With the win, the Lakers won their eighth straight game and set up an ECAC regular season title match next weekend. Mercyhurst hosts Lake Erie College on Saturday, April 26, with the winner earning the top seed and hosting rights in the ECAC Tournament May 2-4.

On Saturday, the Lakers stifled a Cardinal offense that had been averaging over 14 goals per game this season. Wheeling had scored at least 16 goals in each of its home games this year.

Wheeling scored first, but the Lakers quickly took control of the match. Trevor Vargo scored twice and then Connor Enright made it 3-1 with 3:54 left in the first period. Brady Heseltine gave the Lakers a 4-1 advantage with 10:04 remaining in the half and then Vargo finished a Jake McAndrew pass at the 7:14 mark. The Cardinals scored late in the quarter to make it a 5-2 difference at halftime.

Brandon Thomson scored two goals in 69 seconds midway through the third frame, giving Mercyhurst a 7-2 lead, but Wheeling responded with a pair of goals late in the quarter, pulling within three. Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the fourth.

Vargo led with a hat trick, while Thomson scored twice. Mitch McAvoy won 8-16 faceoffs and picked up six ground balls. Michael Grace tallied seven saves in goal. Tyler Johnson scored twice for the Cardinals, while Joe Amsler made 19 saves in net. The Lakers held a 38-23 advantage in shots.

The 12 combined goals are the fewest in a Mercyhurst contest since a 4-3 loss at then-C.W. Post on April 9, 2011. The seven Laker goals in a victory are the fewest since a 7-6 win at NYIT April 21, 2012.

Mercyhurst is now 10-2 overall and 5-1 in the ECAC. Wheeling dropped to 9-2 overall and 5-2 in the conference. Due to its win at Seton Hill last weekend, the Cardinals have earned the third seed in the ECAC Tournament. The Griffins have clinched the fourth spot. The winner of next week's Mercyhurst-LEC contest will host the conference playoffs and face Seton Hill in the semifinals, while the loser will take on Wheeling Jesuit in a neutral site contest.

The Lakers host Roberts Wesleyan in a non-league game on Tuesday, April 22. Faceoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Tullio Field.

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