GREENVILLE, S.C. – Two critical flurry of goals – one in each half – and the play of goalkeeper Bass Barfield coming in at a moment’s notice secured the Jacksonville University men’s lacrosse team a 13-11 win at Furman on Saturday afternoon. With the victory, the Dolphins (4-8, 3-2 Atlantic Sun) advance into the Atlantic Sun Championship beginning on Thursday afternoon on the campus of Mercer where JU has a date with High Point at 3:30 p.m.
With both teams coming into the game needing to win to keep its postseason hopes alive, a spirited game was expected and that’s what fans received. Jacksonville was able to defeat the Paladins despite 50 shot attempts on its goal, eight penalties and wins on only six of 27 face-off attempts.
Rob Moore was the offensive star for the Dolphins with three goals and two assists, but it all might have gone begging if not for Barfield’s heroics in the cage. Entering the game late in the second quarter, the sophomore keeper made 15 saves and recorded a .750 save percentage to hold Furman in check throughout the second half.
Trailing 2-1 with less than four minutes to go in the first quarter, Jacksonville went on a five-goal rampage in less than eight minutes of action to grab a 6-2 lead in the second quarter. Five different JU players – Dakota Rohlin, David Goldman, Tom Moore, Duncan Clancy and Ray Banister – had goals in that stretch to open up some breathing room. It wouldn’t last long.
Furman responded with three straight goals of its own to close to within one at 6-5 before Clancy could end the run with an extra-man goal off an Ari Waffle pass, making it 7-5 with 3:24 remaining until halftime. The three Paladin goals brought Pete DeLuca’s day to an end and opened the door for Barfield to enter the contest. The teams traded goals in the dying seconds of the first half, with Quint Miller closing the book on the opening 30 minutes from Rohlin’s feed, taking the teams to the break at 8-6.
A Goldman goal just over a minute into the third quarter gave JU a 9-6 edge and the Dolphins seemed comfortably in command, but Furman had one last rally in it. Six saves from Barfield in the middle of the third quarter must have had the Paladins thinking they would never find a way past him, but late in the quarter, Furman was able to muster up three straight goals in just over two minutes to knot the game up at 9-9.
That’s when Rob Moore took over. Furman was in possession and looking to take a lead before Joey Pfister caused a turnover and started a runout opportunity that ended with Rob Moore netting his first of the day for a 10-9 lead entering the fourth quarter. Tom Moore then scored his second of the day to begin the fourth quarter, followed quickly by two more unassisted goals from Rob Moore to put JU on top, 13-9, with 9:44 to play. That’s all the Dolphins would manage on offense, but with Barfield making six more saves in the fourth quarter, Jacksonville had all it needed to hold on for the win down the stretch.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic Sun, VMI was a surprise winner over Richmond, 7-6, in double overtime. That means that despite JU being the last team to clinch a bid into the tournament, the Dolphins leap over the top of the Spiders and snag the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament and will get to avoid the hosts, Mercer, in the opening round. JU and High Point will meet at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoon in Macon, Ga., with Mercer to face Richmond that night starting at 7:00 p.m.