WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Despite a late rally in the final quarter that saw the Jacksonville University men's lacrosse team score three times in the final 3:20 - including two goals in the final 45 seconds - the Dolphins fell 9-8 to midwest foe Detroit Mercy, Saturday at Total Sports Park.
"There is no easy way to handle a loss, but I walked away from today's game incredibly encouraged about the opportunities this young group will have," stated head coach John Galloway, now in his third season at the helm of the program.
"Our defense played one of the best performances I have seen in my time here and our offense never wavered, even when we couldn't find the back of the net. Most days, that amount of shots will eventually fall. We just ran into a hot goalie and a tough group from Detroit. We will get back to work Monday to address our needs and come ready to fight again next Saturday. I'm excited to continue working with this group."
Facing a four-goal deficit with 8:32 left to play, freshman Bo BowHunter buried a feed from senior Eric Applegate to spark the Dolphins' fourth-quarter rally. Though the Titans found an answer just 13 seconds later, Jacksonville kept its intensity as redshirt-junior Evan Tyler brought the Dolphins back within three, 9-6, with 3:20 to go. With help from a non-releasable UDM penalty, BowHunter (0:44) and Applegate (0:32) both capitalized on feeds from freshman Jack Pucci to pressure the hosts in the final minute.
The Dolphins took an early 3-1 lead thanks to a man-up goal from junior Dwayne Mattushik and goals from junior Alec Drosos and BowHunter, but the Titans regained the lead with 52 seconds left to hold a 4-3 lead heading into the second period.
Led by junior Hunter Sells in the cage, the Dolphins' defense kept the Titans at bay throughout the second quarter and, with time winding down, junior Jack Dolan netted the equalizer with 2:17 before the half to knot the game at 4-4. Sells turned away four shots in each of the first two quarters before finishing with a career-high 17 saves.
A decisive three-goal third quarter for Detroit Mercy put the hosts ahead, 7-4 heading into the final 15 minutes.
BowHunter led the Dolphins with three goals and an assist, while Pucci added a team-high three assists in the effort. Sophomore Jeremy Winston posted a career-high five ground balls, while he and sophomore Jack Dolan combined for nine ground balls. Crucial to JU's defense was freshman Jordan Young (2 ground balls, 2 caused turnovers) and sophomore Dixon Smith (2 GBs, 3 CTs).
The Dolphins return home next Saturday, Feb. 9 when they play host to No. 2 Duke at noon.