By Akshay Kriplani Staff writer
The Susquehanna men’s lacrosse team defeated Lycoming 12-9 in its opening game of the season on Feb. 18 at Sassafras Field in Selinsgrove.
Senior attacker Chet McLaughlin scored three goals. Sophomore midfielder Jake Smolokoff had one goal and dished out three assists, while sophomore goalkeeper Dylan Abplanalp had 12 saves in the game.
Abplanalp also received Landmark Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance in the game against Lycoming.
Susquehanna controlled the game early, but Lycoming surged late, scoring four goals in a six-minute span to cut the Susquehanna lead to 10-9.
The River Hawks regained control with two goals late in the fourth quarter and closed out the game for the 12-9 win.
“I was pleased with our team’s effort and ability to close the game out in our favor after Lycoming cut the score to a one goal game,” Head Coach Stewart Moan said.
“A good character win for our team in this young season,” he added.
Smolokoff scored less than two minutes into the contest to put the River Hawks on the board first.
Junior attacker Alec Tzaneteas added another goal in the quarter and Susquehanna led 2-1 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the River Hawks went on a five-goal run to take a 6-2 lead.
McLaughlin started the run with his first goal of the season followed by Susquehanna goals from senior midfielder James Harabedian, junior attacker Andrew Porzio and freshman midfielder Kyle Watts.
Lycoming scored in the closing seconds to cut the Susquehanna lead to 6-3 at the half.
In the third quarter, both teams traded a goal before Susquehanna went on a three-goal run.
Porzio and freshmen defender Jack Donnelly and attacker Preston Ouellette scored for Susquehanna, pushing the River Hawk lead to 10-5.
Lycoming did not go down easily though, adding two goals at the end of the third quarter, including an under-hand bullet from freshman attacker Richie Hurley as time expired to cut the lead to 10-7.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Lycoming came out hot and managed to trim the lead down to 10-9, but Susquehanna was able to stop the run and hold on for the win.
“We were really happy to come out with a win,” McLaughlin said.
“There was a lot of sloppiness throughout the game, but some of that was first game jitters. Overall, we came together as a unit and finished the game with poise and confidence,” he added.
On Feb. 22, the team traveled to Muhlenberg for its second game of the season. The River Hawks took down the Mules 12-4 thanks to an offensive explosion in the third quarter.
After entering the half nursing a 3-2 lead, the River Hawks found their footing, peppering Muhlenbergs goaltender and ripping off six goals.
McLaughlin accounted for all of his game-high four goals in the third quarter.
Smokoloff and Tzaneteas accounted for the other two Susquehanna goals.
Susquehanna limited the Mules to just one goal in the third, and while holding the Mules to just one goal in the fourth, the River Hawks padded their lead with three more goals.
Tzaneteas finished with two goals and a game-high two assists. Alplanalp was once again solid in goal, notching 12 saves for the second consecutive game.
The River Hawks are back in action on Saturday, Feb. 25 when they travel to King’s to close out the month of February.