Eastern slips past Marlins with fourth-quarter goals

Tim Gunn
Tim Gunn

VIRGINIA BEACH -- Three goals in a span of six minutes late in the fourth quarter helped undefeated Eastern University to pull out an 11-8 non-conference victory over the Virginia Wesleyan College men's lacrosse team on Saturday.

Senior Mike Moran (Woolrich, N.J./Kingsway Regional) scored off an assist from John Roth (Merrick, N.Y./Calhoun)with 8:53 remaining to pull the Marlins within an 8-7 score on Foster Field at the Trinder Center.  But, VWC's offense turned the ball over on several ensuing possessions, opening the door for the undefeated Eagles.

Eastern (4-0) moved out to an 9-7 lead on an unassisted goal by Tim Lamb (Paoli, Pa./Great Valley) at 7:53 and extended the lead to 10-7 on a goal by Jake Billera (Allentown, Pa./Parkland) at 7:09. Tough defensive play by both teams kept the ball out of either net until 1:58 remained in the game. Grant Ferguson emerged with a goal for Eastern as the Eagles opened up the largest lead of the contest at 11-7.  VWC came back with a goal by Tim Gunn (Sparks, Md./Hereford) 37 seconds later, but time favored Eastern the rest of the way.

Eastern, which received votes for the most recent national top 20 poll, led early 3-1, but with12:22 remaining in the second quarter, junior All-American Josh Currier (Peterborough, Ontario/Holy Cross-Hill Academy)ignited a dazzling scoring clinic.  He brought the VWC fans to their feet when he scored on a over-the-shoulder shot with his back to the goal, cutting the EU lead to 3-2. Forty-two seconds later he tied the game on a running shot to the right, and eight seconds later he gave VWC a 4-3 lead on a shot from the left.

Virginia Wesleyan (1-1) extended its lead to 5-3 when senior Joe Papetti (Edgewater, Md./South River)also scored from the left, assisted by RothFerguson tallied for Eastern two minutes later to cut the VWC lead to one, but the Marlins pushed back out to a two-goal lead at 6-4 when Moran put the ball into the net, assisted by Currier.

Momentum switched at that point however, as Eastern scored the final two goals of the quarter to force a 6-6 tie at halftime.  The Eagles also emerged with two goals in a defensive third quarter, taking an 8-6 advantage into the final quarter.

VWC scored first in the fourth on a shot by Moran to pull within one, before Eastern pulled away for good with three straight goals.

Currier and Moran finished with three goals each for VWC.  Currier also produced a pair of assists. Papetti led the Marlins with six ground balls.

Ferguson paced Eastern with five goals and David Darling (San Diego, Calif./Mt. Carmel) finished with four assists. Goalie Nick DiPiano (Malvern, Pa./Great Valley) picked up six ground balls and recorded 11 saves.

Senior goalie Rory Finnegan (Lowell, Mass./Lowell) sparked VWC's defense with 16 saves.

Virginia Wesleyan returns to competition on Sunday, March 8, hosting the United States Coast Guard Academy at 1 p.m.