By Matt Noonan
NORTON, MA – For the second time in four days, Wheaton College’s men’s lacrosse team earned a non-conference win as the Lyons defeated Salve Regina, 15-5.
Billy McNamara led the Blue and White with a game-best five points (two goals, three assists), while Sean Doherty, Ian Casey, Matthew Hillman, Cam Hanlon and Will Compton each recorded two strikes.
“It was pretty good to score some goals,” said Wheaton coach Jamie Lockard. “I think it was kind of sloppy at times, but I thought it was pretty good (in the) first and fourth quarter for us.”
Wheaton finished the game with 41 ground balls, 36 shots, 23 clears and 10 face-off wins, while McNamara helped the Lyons earn the lead by registering two strikes in the first before recording his first helper in the second on Alex Keiver’s goal at 5:47.
“I was just trying to stick with the game plan and keep the ball moving and try to work for good shots and we got some,” McNamara said of his offensive performance.
Salve Regina trimmed the eight-goal deficit once the second half commenced with three goals – two from Jacob Pantani and one from James Fee before the Lyons responded with five straight tallies to push ahead for good.
Doherty, Hanlon and Hillman each recorded one goal in a span of 1:26 once the final stanza commenced before Compton and Adam Soloperto sealed the win with strikes during the final four minutes.
“That’s happened to us twice,” Lockard explained of his team allowing opponent’s to rally.
“Against Eastern Connecticut on Saturday we were up 8-4 then it was 8-6 and 8-7, so we were able to kind dig our bunches then retaliate a little bit and the fourth quarter was just – I can’t tell you, I didn’t really say anything (because the team) just started playing a little bit sharper.”
With the win, Wheaton improves to 2-4 overall and 3-0 against Salve Regina.
Transition Fuels Wheaton’s Offense: For the second time this season, the Lyons transition game made the difference as Wheaton netted a couple goals off turnovers to pad their lead.
“We’ve gotten better at that the last two games and I think it’s been how we’ve been able to put up double digits and we’re not grinding out the six-on-six goals anymore,” Lockard said.
“That’s been something that we’ve emphasized the last two games coming out is push the ball and look for those opportunities for the easy goals.”
McNamara agreed with his coach by saying, “We’re pushing the ball and I’m loving it. We got some guys playing d-middy, who’re fast and athletic and they’re pushing it forward.”