Sports

Men’s lacrosse team takes Ocean State Cup

Playing against rival Bryant University, Molloy ’17 carries Bruno with season-high five goals

By
Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, April 24, 2014

The men’s lacrosse team retained control of the Ocean State Cup by knocking off Bryant University 13-11 in a Tuesday evening matchup on Stevenson Field.

Bruno (7-6, 1-4 Ivy) played a dominant first half of lacrosse but nearly allowed the Bulldogs (11-4, 4-1 NEC) to come back in the second despite a seven-goal halftime lead. The Bears ultimately held on to their advantage, earning them a victory over Bryant for the second year in a row.

Tim Jacob ’15 opened the scoring with a multi-step windup, which concluded with a long range bomb that found the back of the net. Bryant struck back minutes later amid midfield chaos. A scramble for the ball eventually left Shane Morrell wide open in front of goalie Will Round ’14. Morrell fired a leaping shot into the top shelf to level the score.

The Bears’ usual keeper Jack Kelly ’16 watched the first 54 minutes from the sideline before subbing in for the final six minutes. Since Round will be graduating next month, the team wanted to give him another start as recognition of everything he has done for the team, said Head Coach Lars Tiffany ’90.

In Round’s sophomore season, “he started every game and was great for us,” Tiffany said. “He even made second team All-Ivy. Coming home from Cornell last weekend, we realized we only had two more games left and (Round) has been a really good goalie for us. He’s been solid, consistent in practice and he deserved another start. He’s been a great teammate and a great representative of Brown lacrosse.”

Round did not disappoint in the first half of his first start this season, giving up just two goals and making five saves. For much of the half, Round was left with nothing to do, as Bruno’s offense was firing on all cylinders and held possession for minutes at a time.

After Morrell knotted the game at one, Matt Graham ’16.5 and Sam Hurster ’14 both tallied first-quarter goals to give Bruno a 3-1 lead.

In the second quarter, the Bears exploded for six goals, three of which came from the team’s dynamic attackman Dylan Molloy ’17. The first-year finished the game with a season-high five goals and one assist. Molloy has been a centerpiece for Bruno’s offense since he arrived on campus, Tiffany said.

“Twenty-five goals and 10 assists are beyond what we assumed Molloy would do in his first year,” Tiffany said. “That said, he was a highly-touted recruit coming out of high school, but he’s done even more than we could have imagined. He sees the field incredibly well, everyone knows he loves contact and gets to the goal hard. Sometimes he draws two or even three defenders.”

The Bulldogs managed to post a single goal in the second quarter in what had devolved into a complete rout. The Bears went into the half leading 9-2 and cruising toward the Ocean State Cup championship.

But Bryant made some adjustments and came out fighting in the second half. After being outshot 15-9 in the first half, the Bulldogs popped off 25 shots in the second half, compared to 20 for the Bears. Bryant won the third quarter 5-2 to slice Bruno’s lead to four.

In the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs outscored Brown 3-1, pulling to within just two goals. But a clutch tally from Molloy — his fifth and final goal of the night — sealed the game for the Bears. Bryant scored one last goal to bring the score to 13-11 seconds before the final whistle.

The difference in the two halves came down to the play of Bryant’s goalie Gunnar Waldt, Tiffany said.

“He stepped up in the second half,” Tiffany said. “We remained aggressive to the goal, we were taking good shots, but they just weren’t going in as frequently. The way they play, when he makes saves, it’s an instant fast break. He’s great at throwing outlet passes to his midfielders who are streaking up the field.”

The key to Bruno’s success was Tommy Capone ’14. Bryant’s faceoff specialist Kevin Massa is the best in the nation at his job. He wins over 70 percent of his faceoffs , easily the highest percentage in the country. When Bruno faced the Bulldogs last year, Massa lost just three of 18 faceoffs. On Tuesday, Capone took 12 of 27 from Massa, an impressive margin against the nation’s top faceoff specialist.

“We’ve never had success against Massa,” Tiffany said. “Even though we won less than 50 percent, it felt like a win in the faceoff-X. Massa is dominant … So for (Capone) to step up and, for the first three quarters, go toe to toe with Massa, it was incredible.”

The Bears play their final game of the season Saturday at home against Dartmouth (1-9, 0-5). Before the game, the team’s eight seniors will be honored for their hard work and dedication to the team.