Marlins Never Trail in Thriller vs. Captains

VIRGINIA BEACH -- Virginia Wesleyan's 11-8 victory over Christopher Newport on Wednesday was a thriller that had scoring surges, comebacks, crowd-rousing goals and outstanding saves.

A large, vocal crowd at VWC's Trinder Center watched as Virginia Wesleyan's Marlins (5-4) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. But, the crowd also saw Christopher Newport's Captains (5-7) take charge in the second quarter to pull within a 3-2 score by halftime.

The second half was almost a replay of the first as Mikey Connors (Horseheads, N.Y./Horseheads), Nick Pappas (Edgewater, Md./South River) and Tim Gunn (Sparks, Md./Hereford) all scored unanswered goals to shoot the Marlins into a 6-2 lead with 9:26 remaining in the third quarter. But, once again CNU answered, this time with goals by Billy Crist (Charlottesville/Albemarle) and Parker Thompson (Richmond/Westminster Academy) to pull the Captains within a 6-4 score early in the fourth quarter.

See-saw scoring electrified the crowd through the next five minutes, including a shot and score by Garrison Ernst (Bristow/Brentsville) that brough the CNU fans to their feet and the Captains within an 8-7 score with 8:45 remaining to be played.

Three minutes later it was the partisan VWC's crowd turn to celebrate as Connors shot and scored in front of the goal after taking a pass from Mike Moran (Woolwich, N.J./Kingsway Regional) beind the goal. It was a play that gave the Marlins a two-goal cushion and momentum.

One of the most thrilling goals of the night took place several minutes later when Gunn passed the ball to rookie Josh Currier (Peterborough, Ontario/Holy Cross-Hill Academy), who jumped and fired the ball behind the CNU goalie to make it a 10-7 lead with 2:03 on the clock.

After a timeout, the Captains pulled goalie Andy McGregor (Springfield/West Springfield) from the goal to have an extra field player, but Virginia Wesleyan jumped on the opportunity quickly. Currier found Moran for a shot that gave the Marlins an 11-7 advantage with only 36 seconds to be played.

Will Geise scored the final goal of the game to pull CNU within three.

The victory was the fourth in a row over the Captains for VWC, which leads the young series 6-1.

Senior goalie Corey Bauer (Litiz, Pa./Lancaster Catholic) played a key role in VWC's defensive effort. He finished with 14 saves, producing some big stops on several power-packed shots by the Captains.

But, VWC had its share of strong shots as well, and produced key passing from behind the net to Marlins in front of the net to beat the Captains repeatedly.

Connors led all goal-scoring with four, followed by Pappas, Currier and Moran with two each. Currier continued his outstanding rookie season with three assists to lead all scoring overall. Moran added two goals and Connors, Gunn and Pappas had one each.

Ernst and Geise scored two goals each to lead Christopher Newport. McGregor produced 13 saves for the Captains.

Virginia Wesleyan competes again on Saturday, April 6, hosting Randolph College in an Old Dominion Athletic Conference game starting at 1:00 p.m.


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