YORK, Pa. – On a career day for sophomore James Lowe, in which he tallied seven points on six goals and one assist, the York College men's lacrosse team (7-2, 3-0 CAC) handily defeated the visiting Saints of Marymount (2-7, 0-1 CAC) 12-1 in a Capital Athletic Conference tilt.
"It was a great effort," stated Spartan head coach Jim Griffin. "This game sets a tone looking ahead. We just need to focus on getting better and challenging ourselves on both offense and defense. Today really epitomized us realizing what our strengths are."
Marymount started the conference match-up by striking first on a man-up situation with 13:14 remaining in the first quarter, however that would be the only deficit that the Green and White would face for the remainder of the game. Not more than 30 seconds later, senior captain Josh Gamble would net a solid shot assisted from Lowe to further increase his program-best career point total. The first quarter would end in tight fashion with the score tied at one, as both sides provided defensive units that were eager to thwart any chance for offensive success.
The second quarter would be kick-started with Lowe's first goal of the contest to put York ahead 2-1. The frame was highlighted by a diving save on an open net by junior goalkeeper Tyler Powell to protect that lead and effectively end any short-term success the Saints were attempting to compile. After a goal from sophomore Nate Stewart and one from junior John Dubois, the Spartans would tack on one more score before halftime, courtesy of Lowe, to conclude the first half of play with a four-goal advantage.
"Our offense is very balanced and is an open set that allows anyone to succeed," stated Lowe. "Though, we really just try to counterbalance the defense's momentum."
And counterbalancing their defense's momentum is exactly what the Spartan offensive unit did. After beginning the third quarter with a man-up and automatically getting the ball, freshman Seth Krolus took advantage by extending York's lead after scoring off a pass from junior Jimmy Langton. Following Lowe's third goal of the game, Langton notched a tally to put the Green and White ahead by seven. After backing down his defender inside, he then blew past him as the defender attempted to go over the top and stick-check Langton. Langton took the opportunity and posted the goal.
As the fourth quarter commenced, York held a commanding 9-1 lead that was once again extended by a Lowe goal. Although the play of the game cannot be granted to one of Lowe's picturesque goals, as it would be a travesty not to award it to senior defenseman Travis Atwell. With 12:03 remaining in the game, Powell was tripped up as he was chasing down a ground ball. The grounder got away and ended up in the stick of a Saints midfielder, who had a clear objective of scoring on the now-empty York goal. Instinctively Atwell sprinted toward the net and stationed himself between the pipes, anticipating a shot to be hurled at him.
"As soon as I saw the shot go, I just prayed I was going to get in the way of it somehow," stated Atwell.
Thus, he was ready when the Saint finally did fire a bounce shot, to which Atwell simply kick-saved and cleared to a fellow Spartan defender.
Unfortunately that would not be the last scare Marymount would provide as Powell was struck by a shot just below the throat with less than five minutes remaining. After clearing the save Powell doubled-over and was holding his chest, at which point Atwell came over to check on his goalkeeper. Thankfully, Powell shook it off and was able to continue the exceptional play of the afternoon and amass 14 saves, afterward admitting that the stinger caught him in an area that is not well padded but he would be just fine.
Clearly the injury is of no concern to Powell. When questioned as to how his team is performing at a level higher than in previous years, he included that he is already looking forward to the team's next game.
"Our attitude has changed. We practice the way we practice and play the way we play," said Powell, who played exceptionally well en route to a 14-save performance. "And right now we're just focused on St. Mary's on Wednesday."
The Spartans next two games will be against conference foes. York will be visiting St. Mary's for a 4:00 on game on March 30 before hosting Wesley on April 2 in a 3:00 pm contest.
PHOTO: James Lowe scored six goals and supplied one assist in York's 12-1 CAC triumph over visiting Marymount (Va.). Courtesy of Zach Clabaugh - www.sharpedgefoto.com
Game story written by Matt Pucci - York College athletic communications contributing writer