Saturday was yet another cakewalk for the No. 5 men’s lacrosse team. The Bears (5-0) came away with a dominant 22-8 victory over Michigan (3-3), capping off an impressive start to the season before they open up Ivy League play in Cambridge Saturday.
Bruno knew the Wolverines had the athleticism to match its high-powered offensive system, but it didn’t seem to matter come game time. The Bears were able to build a commanding 20-3 lead before turning to some of their younger players in the fourth quarter.
“The energy our men bring to every game has been the most critical variable in our team’s successful start to the season,” said Head Coach Lars Tiffany ’90. “We are fortunate to be talented, but talent alone means nothing — this group of men enjoys playing fast, and they recognize the intensity and focus required to play at this speed.”
In Saturday’s contest, the nation’s leading offense looked as good as it ever has this season, with 13 different players registering a goal. Leading the way was captain Kylor Bellistri ’16, who scored six times to boost his season total to 20 goals. The senior captain is now tied for second in the nation with four goals per game. Also adding to the attack was Dylan Molloy ’17, who found the back of the net four times and dished out two assists. Though Molloy may not be leading the country in goals like last year, he currently ranks first in the nation with 6.6 points per game.
On the defensive end, goalie Jack Kelly ’16 was superb once again, deflecting eight shots and allowing a mere three goals in three quarters of play. Larken Kemp ’17 also played a part by causing three turnovers in the midfield. The All-American is tied for sixth nationally in turnovers caused per game.
With the Bears playing at such a high level on both ends of the field, identifying individual efforts has become a difficult task, Tiffany said.
“Statistically, (Bellistri) was outstanding again,” he added. “But he will tell you himself that he is on the finishing end of the work executed by so many others.”
In the first quarter Saturday, Bellistri was just one of several players who sparked the offense. Bruno started the day off with two goals from Molloy, which were quickly followed by a pair of tallies from Bellistri and a goal each from Henry Blynn ’16 and Brendan Caputo ’16.
Heading into the second quarter with a 6-1 lead, the Bears kept their foot on the gas pedal, scoring the last four goals of the half to push the score to 10-2.
Though Bruno seemed to be firing on all cylinders in the first half, the offense kicked it into an even higher gear in the third quarter. After conceding the period’s first goal, the Bears tallied eight scores in a row to effectively put the game out of reach. When the fourth quarter rolled around, the outcome was no longer in question.
The Bears will now hope to continue their momentum as they gear up for Ivy League competition. First up is No. 7 Harvard, which started the season with an impressive string of overtime wins and a convincing victory over No. 9 Duke. But the Crimson stumbled in its last two outings, falling to Bryant and Penn State. Come Saturday, Bruno should be expecting the very best from a team that is desperate to get back on track.
“We will do our best to prepare our men for Harvard’s system and personnel, while maintaining our brand and style of Brown lacrosse,” Tiffany said. “The key for us will be to maintain our identity and to execute our roles, to keep hammering away at every chance we have to compete within our system.”
It might help for the Bears to think back to last year’s contest against the Crimson, where they came away with an impressive 14-9 win that kickstarted their bid for an Ivy League championship. This year, they will try their best for a similar result.