The Oglethorpe men's lacrosse team opened its season Wednesday evening at the Oglethorpe Track and Field against Point University in a game that was relocated to Atlanta from Point's campus in West Point because of unplayable field conditions at the latter. The visiting Skyhawks used three goals in the final minute of the second quarter and a 6-1 scoring margin in the third quarter to pull away from the Stormy Petrels for a 19-3 victory. The loss means that the Petrels start the season 0-1.
The Petrels took an early 1-0 lead and held Point to a 2-1 margin over the first quarter, but the Skyhawks pulled away as the game progressed. They outshot the Petrels 50-28 for the game, including a 33-12 mark in shots on goal. In addition, they forced 35 Oglethorpe turnovers while committing 22 themselves, and held the Petrels to a 19-for-31 mark on clear attempts. The Petrels did play them pretty much even on faceoffs, though, corralling 12 of 26 draws.
Oglethorpe got a goal apiece from junior middie Jibril Stapleton, senior attackman Andrew Houghton and sophomore attackman Nathaniel Gillespie. Sophomore defenseman Andrew Kwapil, sophomore middie Tyler Stridiron and freshman middie Jack Brand provided the assists. Freshman middie Cameron Ritter led the squad with 7 ground balls, while freshman goalie Sean Merritt made 14 saves and forced 4 turnovers.
The Petrels took the lead at the outset, with Stapleton scoring off an assist from Stridiron with 13:15 on the clock in the first quarter. Point answered back with a pair of goals to make it 2-1 at the end of the first, though, then started to expand their advantage in the second quarter. Gillespie scored off a feed from Kwapil to start the stanza, but the Skyhawks scored the final four goals of the period, including three in the final 1:12, to take a 6-2 lead into the halftime break.
Point extended their run to 10 straight goals in the third period, building a 12-2 advantage, before the Petrels got one back when Houghton scored off a feed from Brand to make it 12-3. The Skyhawks continued to build their lead in the fourth quarter, though, tallying seven markers to build to their final margin of 19-3.
"Point's a good team," said Oglethorpe head coach Nathan Young, "and we made a lot of freshman and first-game mistakes. The good thing about it is that those mistakes are all correctable, and myself and the team have a positive outlook on the prospect of us turning those issues around for our next game."
The Petrels will next take the field on Friday, Feb. 17, when they travel to North Carolina for a weekend road trip. They'll take on Greensboro on Feb. 17 at 1 p.m., then continue to Fayetteville to go against Methodist at noon on Sunday, Feb. 19. They'll return home on Feb. 22 to take on Huntingdon.