CASTLETON, Vt. – Trailing by just one goal late in the second quarter, the Eagles surrendered a trio of goals in a span of two minutes and could not recover in a 9-4 non-conference loss to Wheelock College in men's lacrosse action Saturday afternoon at Spartan Stadium.
Wheelock (1-0) opened the scoring at the 12:21 mark of the first quarter with a goal in transition initiated from a caused turnover by Sheen McCaig. The visitors quickly cleared the ball down field and Ruben Morales found a cutting Jared Trainor down the left side who fired a shot that beat the Eagles' keeper to the short side upper corner of the net.
Luke McKinnon added to the Wildcat lead on an unassisted effort about four and a half minutes later to extend the lead to 2-0.
After allowing a man-up goal to the Wildcats' McCaig, the Eagles' responded with yet another man-up goal as Brandon Bellissimo (Chicago, Ill.) one timed a pass from Surdam on the doorstep of the crease for his first career goal and made the score 3-2 at the end of the first quarter.
Both teams were hard pressed to find their offensive rhythm for most of the second period, but Wheelock rallied late to pad its lead. Josh Simmons found the back of the net on a man-up situation to energize the visitors. With just 23 clicks remaining on the clock, the Wildcats pumped in two more goals to extend their halftime lead to 6-2 as Morales and McKinnon added markers.
The third quarter played out much like the first part of the second quarter as both teams could not generate any offense as the goalies combined to make just three saves.
With the Wildcats serving a penalty, the team extended its lead to 7-2 thanks to a man-down goal. The visitors quickly transitioned off of a missed shot by Rogers. They cleared the ball down the left side and Sam Riva bounced in a shot over the shoulder of the Eagles' Matt Sonntag (Pompton Plains, N.J.).
Undeterred, the Eagles valiantly fought back with a pair of goals to cut the lead to 7-4 as Will Durant (Plymouth, Mass.) converted a feed from Lucas Williams (Moretown, Vt.) on the man-up just thirty seconds after the Wildcats' short-handed goal. The Eagles then took advantage of a Wildcat breakdown as Williams used a quick pass on the whistle to find Rogers wide open in the middle of the offensive zone and Rogers made no mistake on the breakaway.
With the Eagles seeming to use the goals as a momentum shift, Trainor and McKinnon squashed any thought of a comeback as they each assisted on each other's goals to round out the scoring and clinch the victory.
McKinnon led all scorers with a hat trick in addition to an assist while Trainor notched a pair of goals and assists. Morales scored a goal and an assists while also picking up a game-high six groundballs. Simmons was solid on defense with four groundballs and two caused turnovers in addition to his goal, while Brock King also added a pair of caused turnovers.
Rogers and Surdam each registered a goal and an assists for the Eagles with Rogers also leading the team with five groundballs. Williams picked up a pair of assists while Bellissimo notched five groundballs along with his goal. Cameron Book (Poultney, Vt.) led the defense with a pair of caused turnovers.
Marcus Sardella picked up the win in net for the Wildcat having stopped seven shots on goal. GMC's Sonntag knocked off some rust having not played in a few years and was tremendous in net for the home siders making 15 saves.
Green Mountain will start a five-game road swing with a matchup against SUNY Canton on March 3rd at 1 p.m.