WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – The Lafayette men’s lacrosse team came through with a 1:21 stretch of solid defensive play to keep Monmouth off the board late and secure an 11-10 victory in West Long Branch, N.J. on Tuesday afternoon.
Freshman goalie Jonathan Anastos made his first collegiate start and was stellar, recording 10 of his 13 saves in the second half. Eric Joseph and Kevin Lewis each finished with four points on three goals and an assist, respectively, while Jason Sands and Luke Cummings also chipped in offensively with two goals apiece.
“I thought Sullivan had a great day at the X, giving us a lot of offensive possessions and chances to score,” head coach Jim Rogalski said. “Anastos had an excellent second half between the pipes and I think that was the difference in the game. We were able to come back from a deficit and show the resiliency we needed, while continuing to follow the gameplan. This is what we’ve been looking for from our young guys and I’m happy with the direction we’re headed.”
Michael Sullivan was dominant for the second straight game at the X, winning 18 of the game’s 25 faceoffs. The freshman won 17-of-24 in the loss to UMBC on Saturday.
Lafayette opened the game strong as Lewis found the back of the net twice in the first seven minutes to take a 2-0 early lead. Monmouth lit the board for its first at the 4:51 mark of the first quarter, but Sands picked up a turnover and finished high at 2:59 to push the Leopard lead to two at 3-1.
The Hawks shifted momentum from the latter stages of the first into the top half of the second quarters, as three straight, including a man-up tally from Dan Bloodgood, gave Monmouth its first lead of the game at 6:33, 4-3. The sides exchanged a pair of goals through the remainder of the half and the game went into the break with the Leopards down just one, 6-5.
The Hawks came out in the second half and scored two goals 11 seconds apart to move the lead to its largest for either side at three, 8-5. After a two-minute stretch without a goal, the Leopards responded, as one from Lewis, followed by two from Joseph knotted the game at eight with 4:55 to play in the third.
Monmouth regained the lead at the 3:24 mark of the third quarter, but Sands netted his second late to take the game into the fourth at 9-9. Dillon Confalone ripped an unassisted tally to open the fourth-quarter scoring with 9:21 to play, but Monmouth responded 15 seconds later to tie it at 10.
With 4:19 remaining, Cummings took a left-wing feed from Confalone and finished low to the far side for the eventual game-winning tally. Monmouth regained control late, calling timeout with the ball in its offensive end and 1:21 remaining. However, Lafayette would not be denied as Keegan Hickey delivered the winning check to thwart a chance at the doorstep as the buzzer sounded on an 11-10 victory.
The win marks the second for the Maroon and White this season, moving their overall record to 2-8. With the loss, Monmouth drops to 6-4 this spring.
Lafayette returns to Patriot League play on Saturday, traveling to Holy Cross for a 1 p.m. matchup with the Crusaders.