Sports

Men’s lacrosse top Quinnipiac in season-opening rout

Kniffin ’20 shines in debut, Molloy ’17 starts senior season with eight point effort

By
Sports Editor
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

For fans hoping to see a repeat of the men’s lacrosse team’s storybook season a year ago, this year’s Bears are one small step of the way there.

Just as the team did in 2016, No. 9 Brown (1-0) opened its season with a commanding victory over Quinnipiac (0-1). Sunday’s 25-9 victory was the first for Head Coach Mike Daly, who was hired from Tufts University in the off-season.

“That felt good,” Daly said after the game. “These guys have been unbelievable since day one. They took our entire coaching staff in and they’ve just been a joy to be around.”

Bruno enjoyed solid performances from many of the household names featured on last year’s team, as well as from several newcomers. Dylan Molloy ’17, 2016 Tewaaraton Award winner, led the way with eight points — a balanced four-goal, four-assist effort. Luke McCaleb ’20 had four goals and three assists, and Jack Kniffin ’20 scored six of his own, adding an assist. Both complemented Molloy on the attack, while 2016 first team USILA All-American midfielder Larken Kemp ’17 added one goal and three assists.

Also turning in a solid performance in his first collegiate appearance was goalie Phil Goss ’20, who made seven saves in 41 minutes of play. The Herald previously reported that Daly indicated the goalie position was up for grabs leading up to the first contest. Peter Scott ’17 finished out the game in net, making three saves in 18 minutes.

Daly’s signature coaching style was on display with Brown pushing the pace at every opportunity. Kniffin and Molloy scored 20 seconds apart to open the game, and the 2-1 margin that followed after the Bobcats’ first goal was as close as the game would get.

“When (the new coaching staff) got here, we talked about playing even faster,” Daly said. “The guys have really taken it all in and put it out on the field. They’re a great group — they’re great lacrosse players, and it makes my job pretty easy.”

In the first game of his senior season, Molloy drew significant attention from the Quinnipiac defense. After enduring intense off-season rehab to regain strength after surgery and breaking a bone in his foot in the NCAA tournament last season — an injury he played through in the semifinal loss to Maryland — Molloy appeared to be at full strength Saturday.

“It definitely felt great just to get back out there with the team,” Molloy said. “Coming off the injury, it was exciting just to pick up that first ball and put the ball in the net for the first time.”

Coming off an NCAA tournament berth last season, the Bobcats were thought to present a strong challenge to Brown in each team’s opener. Quinnipiac was picked as the pre-season favorite in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, and attackman Foster Cuomo was picked as the MAAC preseason co-player of the year.

The Bears had no trouble with Cuomo — who was limited to one goal on five shots — and dominated nearly every aspect of the game from the opening faceoff. 

“I’d be lying if I said we saw that coming,” Daly said of the final 16-goal margin. “That’s a great team and a well-coached team. Hats off to our players — I thought they did an unbelievable job.”

“You never know really — you hope you can go out every time and just come out with a win,” Molloy said. “But to come out with that many goals just shows that we’ve been practicing hard and doing what we need to do as a team.”

Ted Ottens ’18 handled a majority of the faceoffs for the Bears, winning 20 of 25. Bruno also handled loose balls with ease, accruing a 53-38 advantage in ground balls.

Bobcats goalie Jack Brust faced an onslaught of pressure from Brown, making 15 saves on 38 shots. By the game’s end, Bruno totaled 41 shots on goal to Quinnipiac’s 19.

“Their goalie played an unbelievable game,” Daly said. “That game could have been out of control quicker if it wasn’t for that guy.”

Brown led 10-3 at halftime, and Daly sidelined the Bears’ starters after the third quarter ended with Brown winning 20-7. In total, 14 players registered a point for Bruno. 

The team will continue non-conference play, hosting Stony Brook Saturday.