Sports

Men’s lacrosse eviscerates Michigan 22-12

Milloy ’17 leads nation’s top offense in destruction of Wolverines, to face No. 10 Harvard Saturday

By
Staff Writer
Friday, March 13, 2015

The No. 19 men’s lacrosse team showed no signs of slowing down last weekend, cruising past Michigan by a final score of 22-12. Bruno is now off to its best start since 2004 and has certainly looked impressive in the process.

“The victories in our first four games do not define us, but they do build confidence in each man that their hard work and commitment to the team are of value,” said Head Coach Lars Tiffany ’90. “What does define us is the energy and passion we bring to each and every competition.”

As has been the story of the season so far, the Bears (4-0) were paced by Dylan Molloy ’17, who connected on eight goals while also dishing out five assists. With 13 points on the day, the star sophomore tied the Brown record for most points tallied in a match. Due to his stellar play, he was named both the Ivy League and the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association player of the week.

“Clearly, Dylan has been fantastic,” said Henry Blynn ’16. “I haven’t seen players of his size use their body so well to score goals, and more importantly, he is a great teammate and strong leader who stays positive in adverse situations.”

Blynn was no slouch himself, scoring four goals to extend his season total to 10, while Kylor Bellistri ’16 also connected four times to bring his total to nine.

On Sunday, it did not take long for the Bears’ nation-leading offense to get going. Just 10 minutes into the contest, Bruno had already raced out to a 5-0 lead on the back of two goals each by Blynn and Molloy, as well as a tally from Brendan Caputo ’16. The Wolverines struck back at the end of the quarter, resulting in a 5-2 margin at the end of the first period.

After conceding a goal at the start of the second quarter, Bruno’s offense got rolling again, putting up another five goals in a row to extend the lead to 10-3. The Bears and the Wolverines (3-3) would each score twice before the half, leaving Bruno with a commanding seven-goal lead at intermission.

The third quarter started off on a slightly different note, with Michigan coming out as the stronger side and cutting the lead to 15-11 with 38 seconds left in the period. But Captain Tim Jacob ’15 made sure to put a stop to the Wolverines’ run, scoring with just eight seconds left to shift the momentum back to the Bears.

From there, Bruno dialed up its third five-goal streak of the contest to start off the fourth quarter, effectively putting the match out of reach.

After the 22-goal onslaught, the Bears maintained their spot as the nation’s most prolific offense, now averaging a remarkable 18.5 goals per game.

“Inhibition has been abandoned,” Tiffany said. “The style we play with is not the norm in college lacrosse — there is almost a reckless edginess to it. We are pushing the pace of play in order to gain an advantage before our opponent has a chance to set their defense.”

But it seems players have had little trouble embracing the new game plan.

“The new up-tempo offense is an offense that any offensive player dreams of playing within,” Blynn said. “Our new offensive coordinator, Sean Kirwan, wants us to constantly attack the opposition and keep them on their toes.”

Blynn was also quick to point out that it is not just the new system that has helped make the offense so successful.

“Our offense is conducive to having fun,” Blynn said. “Our motto before every game is that we have to beat the other team in the category of chest bumps and fist pumps. We’re a group of guys that love to have fun, and it shows with how many goals we score every game.”

While it is easy to get carried away with the team’s offensive prowess, as always, the defense certainly played its part as well. Goalie Jack Kelly ’16 recorded 14 saves on the match and now posts the sixth-best save percentage in the nation. Also impressive was the play of Will Gural ’16, who won 20 of 33 face-offs and collected a game-high nine ground balls. Gural now ranks ninth nationally in face-off winning percentage.

The Bears will open Ivy play Saturday against No. 10 Harvard, which will surely be a litmus test for the season to come. Last year, Bruno fell to the Crimson (4-1) 16-10 in Cambridge at a similar point in the season, but Bruno hopes the script will be reversed this time around.

With five teams in the Ivy League ranked in the top 20, the Bears will have to get used to playing tough competition week in and week out, but the team has the right mindset going forward.

“It means a lot to our team to have gotten off to such a good start,” Blynn said. “However, we aren’t overly confident by any means and expect more of ourselves this season than winning a couple games. The Ivy League starts Saturdayand we are 0-0, so we understand that we have to go to work these next couple of weeks.”

The team is “4-0 with one to go,” Tiffany said. “We will keep focused on improving ourselves individually and continue to work on our team’s new style of play. We will stay focused on what we control.”