No. 4 Mercyhurst Subdues No. 11 Wheeling Jesuit

WHEELING, W.Va. A staunch defensive effort wasn't enough for the No. 11 Wheeling Jesuit lacrosse team to overcome the No. 4 ranked Mercyhurst Lakers, falling 5-7 in a tight ECAC conference showdown.

The Cardinals drop to third place in the ECAC standings behind the only two teams to beat them so far this season, Lake Erie and Mercyhurst, with a 5-2 conference record (10-2 overall).

Senior goalkeeper Joe Amsler was outstanding for the Cardinals, taking an almost unheard of 19 saves on the afternoon to keep the Laker attack at bay.

Offensively, WJU went into the game two attackmen down with regular starters Tyler Wickett and senior Brian Frank out nursing injuries.

Tyler Buchan opened the scoring in the game for the Cardinals, putting the home team out to a 1-0 lead midway through the first quarter. Both teams were patient with ball in hand in the opening stanza, holding possession for long periods of time, and picking shots wisely.

Mercyhurst's Trevor Vargo then rattled off three of the Lakers next five goals to give the visitors a decisive 5-1 lead as halftime neared.

WJU's Sean Wright then got the Cardinals back in the game with a goal with 3:55 left in the half to put momentum back on the home side of the field.

In the second half, Tyler Johnson put in two goals for WJU, but only after the Lakers' Brandon Thompson scored two himself to open the half.

Last week's Lacrosse Magazine DII player of the week Bryce Bruchu scored with 2:31 left to play to start a Cardinal comeback, followed by Johnson's second goal 30 seconds later, but it was to little, too late as WJU walked off with a very respectable 5-7 loss.

WU will take on non-conference foe Mars Hill next Saturday at home to celebrate the team's senior day.

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WHEELING, W. Va.- The #4 Mercyhurst men's lacrosse team won, 7-5, at #11 Wheeling Jesuit Saturday afternoon. Trevor Vargo scored three goals in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) match.

With the win, the Lakers won their eighth straight game and set up an ECAC regular season title match next weekend. Mercyhurst hosts Lake Erie College on Saturday, April 26, with the winner earning the top seed and hosting rights in the ECAC Tournament May 2-4.

On Saturday, the Lakers stifled a Cardinal offense that had been averaging over 14 goals per game this season. Wheeling had scored at least 16 goals in each of its home games this year.

Wheeling scored first, but the Lakers quickly took control of the match. Trevor Vargo scored twice and then Connor Enright made it 3-1 with 3:54 left in the first period. Brady Heseltine gave the Lakers a 4-1 advantage with 10:04 remaining in the half and then Vargo finished a Jake McAndrew pass at the 7:14 mark. The Cardinals scored late in the quarter to make it a 5-2 difference at halftime.

Brandon Thomson scored two goals in 69 seconds midway through the third frame, giving Mercyhurst a 7-2 lead, but Wheeling responded with a pair of goals late in the quarter, pulling within three. Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the fourth.

Vargo led with a hat trick, while Thomson scored twice. Mitch McAvoy won 8-16 faceoffs and picked up six ground balls. Michael Grace tallied seven saves in goal. Tyler Johnson scored twice for the Cardinals, while Joe Amsler made 19 saves in net. The Lakers held a 38-23 advantage in shots.

The 12 combined goals are the fewest in a Mercyhurst contest since a 4-3 loss at then-C.W. Post on April 9, 2011. The seven Laker goals in a victory are the fewest since a 7-6 win at NYIT April 21, 2012.

Mercyhurst is now 10-2 overall and 5-1 in the ECAC. Wheeling dropped to 9-2 overall and 5-2 in the conference. Due to its win at Seton Hill last weekend, the Cardinals have earned the third seed in the ECAC Tournament. The Griffins have clinched the fourth spot. The winner of next week's Mercyhurst-LEC contest will host the conference playoffs and face Seton Hill in the semifinals, while the loser will take on Wheeling Jesuit in a neutral site contest.

2014-04-19



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