The UMW men’s lacrosse team defeated Emmanuel College 14–6 on Friday, March 10 at the Battleground Athletic Complex. The team’s record is bouncing back and forth between wins and losses at 4–4 as they near the halfway point of their season.
“Emmanuel College was an expected win for us,” said junior business administration major John Staugaitis. “In those situations, we need to play and win with maturity. I was very happy that our entire roster was able to get on the field and display talent.”
The Eagles came out onto the field with a loud entrance, yelling to intimidate their opponents as the teams warmed up for the match. The game started on a chilly, wet afternoon with misting that persisted throughout the day and caused the turf to be slippery for the players.
UMW’s sophomore goalie Wyatt Martin had an exciting performance, blocking two shots coming from the Saints with only one minute remaining in the first quarter and providing an opportunity for the Eagles to score. They ended the first quarter in the lead with a score of 4–1. Martin then went on to prevent 11 goal attempts by the Saints within just 30 minutes.
Despite his impressive performance, Martin is not typically a first-string player—this was the first game he played as UMW’s starting goalie.
“A moment that impacted my play during the game was actually stepping on the field for the first time as a starter,” said Martin, a business administration major. “To get that chance gave me the confidence to go out there and do what I know I can do.”
Despite maintaining a commanding lead from the first goal in the game as well as the tricky weather conditions, UMW found ways to keep themselves motivated for all 60 minutes.
“At one point in the first quarter, I got stripped by one of their defensemen. It made me have to focus a little more and lit a fire under me to play better,” said senior marketing major Jackson Popeck. “Seeing the fans out there on a rainy day motivated me to make their time worthwhile.”
While Martin’s several saves were critical to UMW’s win, other players also put on quite a show for their spectators. Several offensive players worked to put points on the board for the Eagles with junior business administration major Henry Moag contributing four goals and junior marketing major Jake Furman and Popeck each adding two. Heading into halftime, UMW went on a run by hitting the Saints with five goals in a row, taking the score to 10–2 before the break.
The Eagles carried their resilience into the third quarter of the game, as junior defender Ethan Mollman gained possession of the ball from his opponent and carried the ball up the field, passing it to Popeck to score. The Eagles earned goals from Moag, Popeck and sophomore Ryan Adams in the third quarter.
Even in the last quarter of the same, the Eagles did not let off the gas despite being far in the lead with the score of 13–4. This is an aspect of the game that the team has been striving to improve upon, according to Staugaitis.
“One thing different about this season is our maturity in games,” he said. “Our ability to not give up and fight for 60 minutes has led us to success so far this season.”
Both teams took full advantage of the remaining last minutes of the game, as Emmanual scored with three minutes left on the clock while the Eagles scored their last shot with two minutes and 25 seconds left. The final score left Mary Washington victorious against Emmanuel College 14–6.
The Eagles led in shots, 41–35, as well as ground balls, 34–27. Several of the players had crucial saves in the second half, helping the Eagles maintain their lead against the Saints.
The team traveled to play against the Roanoke College Maroons on Wednesday, March 15 with less success than their match-up against Emmanuel. They fell to the Maroons 13–11 but are looking forward to a chance to get their record back on track.
“We are a relentless and gritty group that fights till the end,” said Staugaitis. “Team 2023 is building upon last year’s momentum and performing better than previous years. The freshmen are pushing the upperclassman in practice and gaining confidence during games. Also, our new head strength coach, Kimlonte has been a catalyst to our success on the field.”
The team will return to the pitch on Saturday, March 25 at their next home game against Marymount University.