BROOKLANDVILLE, Md. – The No. 18 Ursinus College men's lacrosse team did it again on Saturday, defeating a ranked opponent for the third time this season after edging past No. 14 Christopher Newport in a thrilling 12-10 non-conference clash at St. Paul's School in Baltimore.
The Bears (4-0) had already knocked off then-No. 17 Stevenson and No. 17 Cortland in its first three contests, sandwiched around a double-overtime victory at Mary Washington, and added another impressive notch to their resume by downing a prolific Captains squad that was fresh off a 17-3 demolition of 12th-ranked Roanoke.
Once again, it was the Bears' high-scoring trio who paced them to another high-profile result. Senior Peter DeSimone, junior Bobby McClure, and sophomore Hakan Atillasoy each scored three goals, marking the third time in four games that all three have tallied hat tricks.
Ursinus knew it was up against a high-powered offense, so the Bears decided to play make-it, take-it. Senior Brian Casey was the catalyst of that effort, going a remarkable 17-for-20 on faceoffs and matching the single-game program record with 14 ground balls. Casey's exploits helped Ursinus win 19 of 26 from the circle, a massive edge in a game that was tight throughout.
The Bears got off to the fastest of starts, rocketing out to a 3-0 lead as DeSimone, McClure, and Atillasoy each found the back of the net within the first six minutes.
Ursinus went scoreless for an extended stretch, allowing the Captains (3-2) to get within 3-2 early in the second quarter and eventually pull even at 5-all on an extra-man marker with just under two minutes to go before halftime.
The teams traded goals to open the third quarter, but it was all Bears for the remaining 10 minutes of the frame. McClure put Ursinus ahead to stay with 9:40 to go in the quarter, finishing a feed from sophomore Luke Nachazel, and freshman Tommy Reinhart doubled the spread on an assist from Atillasoy with his first career goal at the 6:23 mark. Atillasoy and Reinhart shared the spoils again about a minute later, this time with the latter setting up the former, and Ursinus took that three-goal advantage into the final quarter.
Christopher Newport rose up again, scoring twice within the first minute of the fourth to get within 9-8. After the teams traded empty possessions, the Bears responded with back-to-back man-up strikes, first from DeSimone and again from junior Sam Mutz, to restore a three-goal edge with 9:14 to go. Sophomore Joe Mercurio assisted on both tallies.
The Captains pulled one back, but McClure sealed the deal with a filthy goal, shaking his defender out of his shoes before firing in a laser from long range to make it 12-9 with 5:41 left.
Senior goalie Nick Kirk finished with 10 saves, nine of them coming in the first three quarters.
The Bears held a slim edge in shots (39-37) and committed 27 turnovers to 18 for the Captains. Ursinus was 2-for-5 on man-up chances, while its penalty kill unit held Christopher Newport to just one goal in seven opportunities.
DeSimone moved to within one of second place in school history with his 96th career goal, and his 49th assist tied him for sixth on the program charts.
Likely to make a big jump in the national rankings, the Bears head to Montclair State for another non-conference clash on Wednesday.