The Oglethorpe men's lacrosse team fell to the visiting Dallas Crusaders 11-8 at the Oglethorpe Track and Field Tuesday night, falling to 1-5 on the season. The Stormy Petrels stayed with the visitors throughout and came back from a 7-1 second-quarter deficit to pull to within a single goal, 9-8, midway through the fourth quarter. However, Dallas came away with consecutive goals late to put it away.
Junior middie Nathaniel Gillespie led the way for the Petrels with five goals on the evening, putting eight of his 12 shots on target. He also scooped five ground balls. Freshman middie Dwayne Taylor tallied a couple goals of his own while putting six of his nine total shots on goal and collecting four ground balls. Sophomore attackman Braden Draucek dished out two assists for the contest, while fellow sophomore attackman Cameron Ritter led the team with six ground balls.
The Crusaders jumped out to a sizeable advantage in the first quarter, outscoring the Petrels 4-1 for the period. Gillespie provided the lone Oglethorpe tally off an assist from Taylor, but Oglethorpe was down 4-1 after 15 minutes, and fell down as far as 7-1 with six minutes remaining in the first half.
However, the Petrels responded with four goals in a row, including three to end the second quarter. Ritter scored the first off a feed from Draucek at the 4:56 mark, then Gillespie collected a pass from Draucek while diving in front of goal and was able to direct a shot past Dallas goalie Christian Lopez while in midair to make it 7-3 with just under four minutes left. Taylor closed the scoring for the half when he ripped a shot from distance over the shoulder of Lopez and into the net to make it 7-4 at the 1:24 mark of the second period.
The Petrels pulled to within 7-5 at the start of the third quarter, as Taylor finished to pull the Petrels to within just two goals. Dallas responded with a pair of markers to make it 9-5 with 9:05 left in the third quarter, but Gillespie would go on a 3-goal run bridging the quarter break to pull his team to within a single goal, 9-8, with 6:54 remaining in the game.
However, Oglethorpe would not score again. The Crusaders got an insurance goal with 6:16 left, then took advantage of a Petrel offside penalty to score a man-up goal and put the game away with just under a minute left.
The Petrels outshot Dallas 32-31 on the evening, and the two teams were even in shots on goal at 19-apiece. The home side scooped 32 ground balls to the visitors' 22, and the teams were relatively even on faceoffs (Oglethorpe went 10-for-23) and turnovers (23-20 Dallas). Oglethorpe went 10 for 15 on clear attempts while their opponents went 15 for 20. Dallas was 1 for 3 on extra-man opportunities while the Petrels were 0 for 2.
"I'm not one for moral victories, but I am incredibly proud of how our guys competed and battled for 60 minutes tonight against a solid Dallas squad," said Oglethorpe head coach Zach Taylor. "We've consistently improved quarter-by-quarter and game-by-game this season, and we have to keep that momentum going as we head into SAA play, easily the toughest part of our schedule."
The Petrels will hit the road over the weekend to get league play started, as they'll travel to Conway, Arkansas, to take on Hendrix at 8 p.m. Eastern on Friday before continuing to Memphis, Tennessee, for a battle with Rhodes at 1 p.m. Sunday.