COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College men's lacrosse team kicked off the 2017 spring season in impressive fashion Saturday, using a first-quarter spurt to fend off Frostburg State for a 10-8 victory on a glorious mid-February afternoon at Patterson Field.
Junior Gerard Brown picked up right where he left off as an All-American a season ago with two goals and three assists – all of his helpers coming in the first quarter – and sophomore goalkeeper Elliott Shevitz (15 saves) came up with a bevy of big second-half stops to garner a hard-earned win in his collegiate debut. Sophomore Peter DeSimone and junior Ian Desenberg tallied twice apiece, and freshman Bobby McClure produced a goal and three assists in his own debut.
With their first victory ever against Frostburg State, which received votes in the USILA preseason poll, the 17th-ranked Bears won their eighth straight season opener. Brown continued his habit of going off in lid-lifters, racking up five points a year removed from a three-goal, five-assist outburst against Albright.
The Bears came out firing, opening the scoring just over a minute in when Brown fed a pass over the top of the net for Desenberg, who converted with ease for an early 1-0 lead.
After the Bobcats leveled a few minutes later, Ursinus took command with a four-goal run over the rest of the opening frame. The rookies played a big role, McClure having a hand in the next three markers. First, he hit classmate Noah Frantz for a shot out in front, then scored himself on an assist by DeSimone just a minute later.
The Bears tacked on two more in the final minute, first on a right-handed rocket by McClure and again with 10.3 seconds left, when Desenberg cut alone toward the cage, took a pass from Brown in stride, and finished into the top corner of the net to extend the home side's lead to 5-1.
Frostburg State got on the board first in the second, but the Bears were back on track with an impressive move by junior Lou Harrison, who received a pass from senior Conor Fitzgerald before spinning and firing past Jack Marks for a 6-2 lead. The teams traded goals until halftime, with DeSimone netting his second and Brown his first at the 2:18 mark as the Bears went into the break with an 8-4 advantage.
Brown started the third-quarter scoring by muscling in for a left-handed shot from just outside the crease about halfway through the period. The Bobcats made a push with back-to-back goals in the next two minutes, but McClure got the Bears back on track with a beautiful find for sophomore Tim Miller; McClure's pass across the crease found the stick of Miller at the opposite post, and the long-stick midfielder capitalized with his second career goal to make it 10-6 with 4:16 remaining in the third.
Shevitz came up with two big saves during a one-minute man-up chance for Frostburg State late in the quarter.
The Bobcats made it a game again in the final frame, getting goals from Jake Bowling and Nate Collins in the first 2:23 to get within 10-8. The visitors had a golden chance to cut the margin to one after an Ursinus turnover, but Shevitz stoned Collins on the doorstep in transition to preserve the multi-marker edge.
Frostburg State twice nearly had another one, but Paul Ruppert's shot rattled the crossbar and Collins rang the post about 30 seconds later. Though it bounced high into the air off the iron, Ruppert's shot was originally ruled a goal, but the officials overturned it after a brief conference. The Bobcats outshot Ursinus, 18-4, in the fourth, but seven saves by Shevitz kept the Bears in the driver's seat.
Shevitz finished with 15 saves, ten of them after halftime, in a sparkling debut. In addition to a goal apiece, Frantz and Miller each caused two turnovers to lead the defensive effort in front of the new net-minder.
Frostburg State owned a 49-30 advantage in shots and forced 20 turnovers, but the early deficit and Shevitz' dominance proved too much to overcome. Sophomore Brian Casey performed well in his first career start, winning 12 of 21 at the faceoff X.
The men's lacrosse team heads to Mary Washington on Saturday, February 25.