The development of the Wilmington College men's lacrosse program was on full display Saturday as the Fightin' Quakers shook off a disappointing third period to post the 15-5 non-conference victory over Bethany at Williams Stadium.
Bethany scored both goals in the third quarter to pull within two, but the Wilmington defense stiffened and the offense clicked in the fourth. The Fightin' Quakers responded to the challenge and kept BC off the board in the final 15 minutes while scoring eight goals of their own.
"I didn't have to say much in between quarters, it was them saying 'this is what we have to do' and then (the players) going out and doing it," said Wilmington head coach Domenic Marzano. "The third quarter they beat us in ground balls and we weren't clearing the ball, so they got us 2-0 in the quarter. We came out a little flat and just got a little lazy in the third quarter – and they got a little angry about it."
Part of the reason for Wilmington's success in the final period was their ability to get ground balls and clear into the offensive end. The Fightin' Quakers were 11-of-11 on clear attempts and recorded 11 of the 12 ground balls.
Wilmington was also 6-of-8 on faceoffs after going 5-of-14 through the first three quarters.
"It was great to see it out of a young team," Marzano of the fourth quarter performance. "They are starting to come together, and each day we are gaining more confidence. Once we started on refocusing on getting better each day, we strung together so great practice."
Playing without two starters, Marzano was pleased with the defense as a whole. But, he also recognized the contributions of seniors Noah Harris (Blanchester, OH/Wilmington) and Jordan Steinke (Blanchester, OH/Blanchester).
"The defense really sealed the deal for us; just locking down on their guys, clearing the ball effectively and Paul (Koerbel) making saves," said Marzano. "Our long poles cleared the heck out of the ball and it enabled us to get into our offense."
Koerbel (Maineville, OH/Kings) made 16 saves, six coming in the third quarter as the Bison dominated the play.
Sophomore Jalen Jackson (Hilliard, OH/Bradley) continues to be the focal point of the Wilmington offense. He dished out a team-high five assists to go along with three goals. Jackson was an equal opportunist when it came to his distribution, setting up for different teammates.
Sophomore Alexander Gossard (Galloway, OH/Hilliard Bradley), who was the only recipient of multiple scoring passes from Jackson, finished with a team-high four goals. Freshman Reid Delaney (Wooster, OH/Wooster) finished with two goals and two assists, while sophomore Evan Osborne (Middletown, OH/Lebanon) added two goals for the Fightin' Quakers.
Wilmington (3-4), winners of three straight, hosts Hiram 4 p.m. Wednesday at Williams Stadium.