April 29, 2014

Darling, Eastern Drop Hammer on FDU-Florham

from press release

ST. DAVIDS, Pa.—Eastern Men's Lacrosse advanced to the Freedom Conference Championship for the third year in a row after eliminating the FDU-Florham Devils 21-10 in the semifinal game on Tuesday. The Eagles' starting three attackmen Eric Waibel, Grant Ferguson and Dave Darling combined for 17 of those goals. Darling set an Eagles' season-high with 11 points on five goals and six assists. With the 11 points, Darling moved into first place in Eastern's record books for single season points with 85 points this season. Grant Ferguson, who had had five goals and two assists on the day, tied the previous points leader, Chris Farrar, with 75 total points this year.

Ferguson also set the new single-season goals record with his 58th goal of the year, breaking his own record of 54 goals set last season.

Waibel tallied seven goals Tuesday afternoon to give him his 36th of the year. Waibel and Darling (who has 35 goals this year) could both possibly join Ferguson as the only Eagles in history to score 40 or more goals in a single season.

Andy Jameson, Tim Lamb, Bryan Goetz and Andrew Travers each scored a goal as well in the win.

The last time Eastern and FDU-Florham met, the Eagles creamed the Devils 20-3 and only gave up four faceoffs to the Devils. On Tuesday, however, the Devils were much improved at the X and took 14-of-33 draws.

The Devils surprised everyone when Haddon Corbett won the opening faceoff cleanly and took it all the way to the house to score a long-pole goal five seconds into the game.

The Eagles responded with four straight goals—three from Waibel and one from Ferguson—before FDU responded with back-to-back goals. JC Hofmeister found Waibel with 6:38 to play in the first quarter, and Waibel ripped a low-to-low shot past FDU's zone and its goalie for his fourth goal of the game, putting Eastern ahead 5-3.

FDU picked up a goal 20 seconds later to again cut Eastern's lead down to one. The Eagles rattled off three goals in a row to put some distance between them and the Devils, but Devils' Lance O'Donovan notched his second goal of the game with seven seconds to play in the first quarter making it an 8-5 game, but still in Eastern's favor.

Eastern squashed any idea of an FDU upset in the second quarter, outscoring the Devils 7-0. Darling scored four times in the quarter and assisted Ferguson and Tim Lamb as well. The only goal Darling didn't have a hand in in the second was when Kyle Gillam located Waibel.

The Eagles stretched their lead to 18-5 midway through the third quarter, allowing their reserves to see some quality minutes toward the end of the game.

Pat Groschan played 40 minutes in goal and took the win, allowing seven goals while saving five shots. Matt Lee, who did not start at the X, came into the game midway though the first quarter and took 14-of-22 faceoffs.

With the win, the Eagles will face the DeSales University Bulldogs in the Freedom Conference Championship at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The Bulldogs advanced to the championship game after a 9-8 win in quadruple overtime against King's College. Eastern and DeSales played each other last Saturday in the final regular season game of the year with Eastern claiming a 20-3 victory then.

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