BRANDYWINE HUNDRED — The weather on March 25 cleared enough for Saint Mark’s and Brandywine to take a shot at playing their boys lacrosse game on the grass at Modica Field at Brandywine. The Spartans are sure glad they did, battling through a chilly wind and, for the last three quarters, persistent drizzle for a 17-5 win.
The Spartans were dominant on ground balls, and there were plenty on the wet grass. Brandywine won the opening faceoff and fired a shot wide. The Bulldogs retained possession, but the Spartans picked up a ground ball and went to work. A rush in the opposite direction ended when Mass Paoli went low past Bulldogs goalie Ryan Daley just 54 seconds in.
The Spartans continued with the pressure, forcing Daley to make a save or two, but Nathan Hughes, one of the Spartans who had a shot stopped, found the net on a man-up situation at the 7:45 mark. Matt Hanich won the ensuing faceoff, rushed into the offensive zone and fed Alex Salerni for another goal just 11 seconds later.
Brandywine took advantage of a Spartans turnover to get on the scoreboard, and it was a pretty goal. Sam Duch crossed in front of Spartans goalie Tom Stanley, then whipped a backhand shot with his back to the net with 5:55 to go in the first.
Luke Spoor scored twice in the late stages of the quarter, including one with 58.6 seconds on the clock. Spoor brought the ball out from behind the net on a restart and fired from Daley’s left. Daley kept Brandywine in the game for much of the afternoon, making several high-quality saves.
Paoli scored the only Saint Mark’s goal of the second, and Christopher Messinger had the Bulldogs’ only tally, Much of the rest of the quarter featured Daley, whose best stop may have been the last one of the half when he stopped a point-blank shot from about eight yards away.
The margin was still four goals late in the third quarter until Dan Mitchell scooped a shot into the net on a delayed penalty. That gave the Spartans a 10-5 lead, and Hughes added another after a Stanley save in the first minute of the final quarter. The Spartans gradually built their lead, scoring all seven goals of the fourth.
Spoor finished with a team-leading six goals, while Hughes added a hat trick. Paoli and Salerni each had a pair. David Astfalk led the Spartans with four assists. Stanley had three saves. Saint Mark’s (2-0) has its home opener on Tuesday at 4 p.m. when Concord visits.
Sam Duch had two goals for the Bulldogs, who fell to 0-1. They play the second of four straight home games on Thursday against Hodgson at 4 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.