By KEVIN BOILARD
The Eagles suffered their second defeat of the season last Saturday versus No. 10 Stevenson University, dropping a 13-6 decision. The loss put the Eagles at 6-2 overall and 2-1 in conference play.
The Mustangs broke open the scoring at the 12:42 mark in the first quarter, but the Eagles responded shortly thereafter with a goal by junior attackman Paul Tunick. Tunick’s goal was assisted by sophomore attackman Luke Dick, who had four points on the day.
The first quarter was marred by sloppy play. With a rainy, gloomy sky hanging above the UMW battlegrounds, both offenses failed to get into a rhythm. Both teams seemed to have been bitten by the turnover bug and had to rely on staunch defensive play.
Despite leading in time of possession and scoring opportunities, the Eagles’ were unable to build a lead. The first quarter ended with both teams tied at one goal apiece.
The Mustangs recaptured the lead with 11:21 to go in the second quarter. The Eagles offense then found a little luck with back-to-back heads up goals by Dick.
The first came on a play in which Dick held the ball behind the net while his defender was hung up in front of the net. Dick slowly and meticulously navigated the game of “cat and mouse” to get in front of the cage and score.
Dick’s second goal came off a rebound that he snagged out of the air and redirected into the back of the net.
At the 8:05 mark, the Eagles enjoyed a 3-2 lead over the their nationally ranked opponent, but the lead was short-lived. Stevenson quickly tallied two more goals to go into halftime nursing a 4-3 lead.
“I think we can make improvements to play [Stevenson] a little better if we meet again,” head coach Kurt Glaeser said after the game. “I was encouraged by our play in the first half.”
UMW was nearly held scoreless in the third quarter while the Mustangs went on a five-goal scoring run, three of which were assisted by midfielder Chris Dashiell from behind the net.
“They changed up some of the things in the second half,” Glaeser said. “They began initiating underneath a lot more and we had trouble adjusting to it.”
Tunick saved a third quarter shutout by scoring on a Sean Dacey assist with 16.9 seconds to play in the period.
Both Dacey and sophomore attackman John Bohlinger, the team’s leading scorers, were bottled up by the Stevenson defense. The standouts were held to one assist each.
Dick scored once more in the fourth, as did freshman attackman Greg Smith, but the Mustangs’ athleticism and superior transition play proved to be too much for the Eagles to handle.
Dick, who had three goals and an assist in the 13-6 loss, saw a lot of room for improvement.
“We need to run the offense more efficiently and finish on more of our chances,” Dick said. “Most importantly, we have to play our game.”
Glaeser had an optimistic outlook on the Eagles’ upcoming games.
“We need to keep getting better. The goal is to ultimately field the best team possible and to do that we need players to keep working hard to get better,” Glaeser said. “Losing games like these help teach lessons. We need to learn from the mistakes we made in this game and not repeat those mistakes.”