JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A sluggish start in the first quarter on Saturday afternoon put the Jacksonville University men’s lacrosse team into a hole they couldn’t dig themselves out of. Trailing 7-1 after the opening 15 minutes, the Dolphins (1-5) awoke and poured everything they had into getting back into the contest, but the large deficit proved to be too much to overcome as Air Force (4-3) left D.B. Milne Field with a 15-12 victory.
Tom Moore had a fantastic day on the attack for JU, scoring four goals and adding three assists. Quint Miller also had a hat trick for the Dolphins.
Moore got the scoring started within two minutes as an offside call on Air Force gave Jacksonville the man-up opportunity. Duncan Clancy fed Moore as he cut in towards net and delivered a shot past Falcons keeper Doug Gouchoe to make it 1-0.
That was about where the highlights ended for JU in the first quarter. Air Force peppered the Jacksonville defense with 15 shots in the first, taking full advantage of five face-off wins and four Dolphin turnovers. With mostly one-way traffic in front of the JU net, the defense struggled to match the energy of the Falcons and let in seven goals before the quarter ended, including two apiece from Kyle Cassady and Mike Crampton.
Jacksonville began its surge in the second quarter, killing off a 30-second penalty in the opening minutes and then cutting it to 7-2 as Miller scored off a pass from Dakota Rohlin. One minute later, the Dolphins had it down to 7-3 as Rob Moore ripped his fourth goal of the season past Gouchoe.
The momentum proved to be short-lived, as Air Force took the subsequent face-off and scored within 10 seconds to up its edge to 8-3. Penalties were to blame after that, as back-to-back whistles against Jacksonville were converted into goals, the last by Cassady to complete his hat trick and give the Falcons a 10-3 lead.
With Pete DeLuca struggling to contain Air Force, Bass Barfield was put in and would shine through the remainder of the game. By halftime, Jacksonville would have the Falcon lead back down to five as Rohlin scored an extra-man opportunity with Tom Moore on the assist. Fifteen seconds later, Tom Moore picked up the ground ball off a face-off and deposited it in the back of the net. Barfield also made a pair of saves in the closing minutes to keep the Dolphins in it.
Both defenses dug in during the third quarter and made life difficult on both sides. Miller scored his second goal of the game at the 13:36 mark to make it 10-6, but that would be Jacksonville’s last goal for more than 13 minutes. In the meantime, Air Force scored on the man-advantage and led 11-6 until the closing seconds of the period. With the Dolphins in possession inside the final minute, Tom Moore was unlucky to not cash one in, as his shot with 30 seconds remaining hit the crossbar. However his brother, Rob, was there for the pickup and Kyle Rebman hit Tom Moore with a pass that he slotted home with five seconds left to make it 11-7 entering the fourth.
An early Air Force goal was offset by Tom Moore’s fourth of the game, making it a 12-8 contest with 12:14 remaining. Erik Smith of the Falcons then scored his second goal of the quarter to increase the advantage back to 13-8 before a two-minute non-release penalty on the Falcons gave Jacksonville one last chance to work back into it. Just 11 seconds after the penalty was called, David Goldman scored from the point with Ari Waffle on the assist. With Sam Rosengarden winning the face-off, JU quickly netted a second goal with Chase McIntyre scoring from Rob Moore.
With more than a minute to go on the extra-man advantage, Air Force used a timeout to slow down the Dolphins. The strategy worked to perfection as the Falcons were able to win the face-off coming out of the break and score a man-down goal with 9:17 to go to restore a 14-10 lead. Air Force then was able to burn off the rest of the penalty with no further damage.
Miller converted a chance from a Tom Moore pass with just over seven minutes remaining and Jacksonville had a little life left with the game in range at 14-11. However Smith would finish off his hat trick with 5:29 to go and McIntyre’s goal with 30 seconds remaining was little consolation as the Dolphins ran out of time.
Jacksonville’s five man-up goals tied a program record originally set at VMI on Feb. 27, 2010. Tom Moore’s seven-point day is tied for second all-time at JU, and hasn’t been matched since Cam Mann had the same stat line of four goals and three assists against Siena on April 9, 2011. Waffle still holds the all-time single-game points mark with nine against VMI on March 24, 2012.
The Dolphins spend the rest of March on the road, playing a pair of non-conference games. JU first will take on Robert Morris in Moon Township, Pa. on March 22 in a 12 p.m. start.