WILMINGTON — Salesianum’s lacrosse team held a three-goal lead over nationally ranked Malvern Prep (Pa.) after scoring twice within a minute midway through the third quarter during the teams’ meeting on May 1 at Abessinio Stadium. But the Friars, a team loaded with Division I college recruits, stormed back, collecting the final eight goals of the afternoon in a 12-7 victory.
The Sals had a 5-4 halftime lead on a picturesque day in Wilmington. They added to that with 7:56 to go when Dylan Mooney scored on a two-man up situation, and Mooney struck again at the 7:02 mark. On that one, he took a pass from Caelan Driggs, who had chased down a missed shot before it went out of bounds.
The Friars answered immediately. Kyle Traynor won the faceoff and sped toward the Salesianum goal, firing the ball past Jackson Skinner to make it 7-5 with 6:49 to go.
Malvern cut another goal off the Sals’ lead at the 3:44 mark. Eric Spanos, who will play his college ball at Maryland, finished a sequence of great passing with a goal on a man-up situation. The Friars tied the game near the end of the quarter when Alexander Nikolic caught a pass as he was cutting toward the net and went high for the goal.
The fourth quarter was all Friars. They played lockdown defense, clogging up the Sals’ passing lanes and allowing very few shots. Meanwhile, they steadily pulled away. In another man-up situation, Dartmouth commit Colin McGill scored the game-winner, going top-shelf. Malvern added four more.
The final 12 minutes overshadowed a stellar performance for the Sals for three quarters against the team ranked 12th in the country by U.S. Lacrosse magazine . Matt Riley won the opening faceoff, and he got the ball to Colby Bushweller. He found Dom Rottura, who beat Friars keeper Chris O’Grady 29 seconds in. Mooney scored his first of the day at the 8:00 mark, ripping a shot low to the left side of the net, doubling the Sals’ lead.
Malvern fought back to tie the game on a two-man up situation, and the first quarter ended in a tie. The Sals again tallied in the first minute of a quarter when Charles Ruoss sent a low shot into the net with 11:19 to go in the half. A Riley faceoff win led to the next goal, which came less than a minute later. Riley also picked up the assist as Ryan Metz found the net.
Salesianum regained a two-goal lead at 5-3 on Ross’ second of the afternoon, but Nick Potemski, who will play for Duke next year, scored a key goal for the Friars with just 18.6 seconds to go until the half. That came on a nifty spin move after he emerged from behind the net.
Final statistics were not available Saturday evening, but Skinner was on his game. The Sals’ keeper used his stick, arms and legs to stop several Malvern shots. During a short stretch shortly before halftime, he turned away four consecutive Friars attempts to keep the Sals up by a pair. Sallies (8-2) travels to Delmar on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Photos courtesy of Nick Halliday.