As Sprague Field was doused in a cold and consistent rain on April 9, the Montclair State University men’s lacrosse team took down the Stockton Ospreys in dominant fashion with a 15-9 win. The game marked the opening of the 2016 Skyline Conference play for Montclair State, which eventually will lead to the conference tournament that’s set for early May.
From the opening whistle, Montclair State held all the momentum, scoring three goals in the first three minutes of play. Senior attacker Don Finn, who led the team with four goals and 5 points overall, scored his first two goals during that streak, with the pair coming just under two minutes apart.
Besides their strong opening, the Red Hawks went on a more sustained run of dominance during the second and third quarters, scoring 10 of the 12 total goals during that time. Head coach Michael Schambach realized this quick-hitting, momentum-focused style that his team possesses and encouraged them to use it as a way to seize opportunities and start off with dominant leads.
Senior and junior attackers Brett Mangan and Brady Wulster contributed two goals each, while midfielder and 2015 All-American Honorable Mention Zack Schreck scored two points of his own.
Senior and junior midfielders Connor Cunningham and Corey Carlson are two integral players that the Red Hawks needed to come up big to make the lineup deeper than ever. Cunningham obliged by providing four points evenly split between assists and goals, while Carlson was not as involved in the offense, but still had an encouraging one-goal performance.
Although Montclair State had clear control throughout most of the game, Stockton outscored Montclair State 5-1 in the fourth quarter, making things much more interesting than the Red Hawks imagined. Stockton built strong closing momentum by maintaining possession for extended periods of time, keeping the ball in Montclair State’s half of the field with the pressure on during their ultimately failed rally.
Each team committed almost 15 turnovers as the rough weather and testy play seemed to create an environment prone to stick mishandling. However, the Red Hawks played extremely calmly, as they committed only two penalties all game, compared to nine by the Ospreys, who gave up three power-play goals while down one man.
The Red Hawk bench was with their teammates on the turf every step of the way, as every goal scored was accompanied by a chorus of deep voices yelling in support.
As Montclair State heads into their second game of Skyline Conference play this Saturday against the College of Mount St. Vincent, their confidence is riding high. After winning four of their last five games, with the lone loss being because of a late goal to Stevens Institute of Technology, Montclair State heads into their second game of Skyline Conference play this Saturday.
The nearing Skyline Conference tournament historically belongs to Monclair State, as the Red Hawks have been crowned conference champs for the past seven seasons. The Red Hawks will use their upcoming schedule to make sure their dominance continues in anticipation of the NCAA Tournament, where the team’s true goals reside.