Men’s lacrosse falls to Bucknell in OT thriller

Two goals each from Molloy ’17, Blynn ’16 not enough as Bison hand Bears first loss of season

Sports Staff Writer
Friday, March 20, 2015

Kylor Bellestri ’16 keeps the ball away from the opponent. The junior was stonewalled by the Bucknell goalie before the Bison won in overtime.

The No. 12 men’s lacrosse team was inches away from a sixth consecutive win to start the season, but it ultimately fell to Bucknell in overtime by a final score of 10-9 Tuesday. Kylor Bellistri ’16 had a great look to win it just a minute into the extra period, only to see Bison goalie Sam Grinberg make a stellar save to deny Bruno (5-1) the victory.

It was a tough loss to swallow, but Head Coach Lars Tiffany ’90 remained positive, highlighting the team’s response to adversity.

“I saw our team compete hard and never quit despite the fact it was one of those rare days where we were not sharp with our stick skills nor our decision-making,” Tiffany said. “We have been fortunate to not feel the sting of a loss until now, but I know this group of men will realize the mistakes made with their approach to this game and grow from it.”

Despite the missed opportunity at the end of the game, Bellistri had an impressive day, leading the Bears’ offense with three goals and extending his season total to 14. Dylan Molloy ’17 and Henry Blynn ’16 each added two goals as well. Molloy was recently named to the watch list for the Tewaaraton Award, given annually to the best male and female lacrosse players in the country.

On the defensive side, Jack Kelly ’16 made 11 saves, while Alec Tulett ’17 picked up four ground balls and caused three turnovers.

The Bears’ offense had no trouble getting going Tuesday. After conceding an early goal, Bruno went on a 5-0 run in a span of just over five minutes. The scoring spree was highlighted by Molloy, who assisted on three of the goals and scored twice on his own.

Unfortunately for the Bears, the Bison fired right back and went on a run of their own. While keeping the Brown offense at bay, Bucknell rattled off six straight goals to turn an early four-goal deficit into a two-goal lead. 

It was not until around the seven-minute mark that Bruno finally got back to its attacking ways, with Blynn tallying his first of the day. Both teams would remain scoreless for the rest of the quarter until Bellistri connected with 49 seconds left to send the game into halftime tied 7-7.

The second half proved to be a true defensive stalemate, with both teams scoring just two goals each. In the third quarter, it took over 12 minutes for either team to find the back of the net before Blynn scored his second of the day to send the lead back to the Bears. Bellistri followed just 20 seconds later to push the margin to two.

At the start of the fourth quarter, it looked like Bruno was well on its way to a win, but the offense faltered down the stretch. The Bison brought out their best defensive efforts to shut out the Bears and grabbed two goals along the way to send the game into overtime. Bucknell had a chance to win at the end of regulation, but after some questionable clock management, it was unable to get a clean shot off in time.

The Bears’ first possession in overtime was promising, as Molloy made a beautiful pass to Bellistri at the top of the circle, but a great save kept the Bison alive. On the ensuing possession, Thomas Flibotte fired a shot past Kelly, sending Bruno to its first loss of the season.

It may have been a heartbreaker, but Tiffany and Blynn were quick to point out the lessons that could be taken away from the defeat.

“With each practice and game, we learn more and more about ourselves — the staff included,” Tiffany said. “We made some mistakes and we are going to rectify them. Preparing for our next game, we recognize that our more offensive-minded midfielders have to play more. We have to be willing to slow our offense down to ensure that we don’t play such a lop-sided amount of defense.”

“Our offense was on fire early, but then we stopped doing simple things like catching and passing accurately, and our play became sloppy,” Blynn said. “With all the turnovers, Bucknell was able to hold on to the ball for too long.”

The Bears will gear up to take on Manhattan College (0-8) Saturday, with hopes of rebounding from the tough loss. Blynn expressed confidence in the team’s ability to get back on track.

“We are going to focus on the little things, such as fundamentals and regaining that confidence that we had going into Bucknell,” he said. “These next couple days before Manhattan, we can digest the loss and work on all of our weaknesses to ultimately turn them into strengths.”

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