Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Lacrosse team avenged their previous loss to Southwestern University (TX) by rocking them 23-8, which included an 11-goal effort in the second quarter.
The previous time these two teams met the Poets fell 11-10 back in February in tough conditions in Georgetown, TX.
Southwestern had three attackmen averaging a combined 12 points a game and Thursday they were held to just four points against the Poets tough defensive unit led by Max Thiele (San Diego, Calif.), Max Lepley (San Clemente, Calif.), and Max Bragdon (Denver, CO). Whittier is currently in the Top 10 in the NCAA Division III in caused turnovers per game and in the Top 25 in clearing percentage.
The first five minutes were scoreless, which then led to a flurry of goals. Connor Dee (Collegeville, PA) and Sigi Ocker (San Francisco, Calif.) added connections within seconds of each other to put WC on top. Southwestern responded as Zach Taylor would cut the deficit to one with 5:35 to play in the frame but that's as close as the Pirates would get as the Purple & Gold would take control with William Bassett (Mercer Island, WA) and Nate Heritage (Bellingham, WA) closing out the quarter with two that moved the score to 4-1.
Whittier carried the momentum into the second quarter in a big way outscoring SU 11-0, which put the game out of reach. Freshman Dee recorded four points in the frame with three goals and an assist, while Billy Shaffer (Tucson, AZ), Jackson Draper (Steamboat Springs, CO), and Ryland Clay (Aurora, CO) each added two goals apiece.
The run continued into the second half with Conner Sexton (San Jose, Calif.) and Jordan McGowan (Tualatin, OR) going back to back to extend the lead to 17-1. Southwestern stopped the bleeding with two of their own midway through the third but the Pirate defensive unit wasn't able to stop the Poets high-octane offense as Sexton added another goal, while feeding Clay that moved the score to 19-3.
In the fourth, Whittier put on the breaks and put reserves into the game, but still they were able to continue adding to their lead. Heritage led the offense in the final 15:00 minutes adding three goals joined by a Ryan Crawford (San Clemente, Calif.) to Ryan Marchand (San Diego, Calif.) connection that put the game away.
Alex Cramer (Rocky Hill, CT) got the start and picked up the win picking up eight saves against nine shots. Back-ups Dakota Turgeon (Bellingham, WA) and Austin Mann (Santa Ana, Calif.) combined for eight saves.
Whittier outshot Southwestern 64-29 and turned the ball over just 12 times. They forced 23 turnovers by SU, picked up 48 groundballs, was a perfect 18-18 on clear attempts and was 12-of-35 on faceoffs.
Sexton had a day totaling eight points, which included three goals and five assists. Dee had four goals and two assists, Heritage added five goals and Clay tacked on three goals and an assist. Crawford led the defense with five caused turnovers, Bassett added three and Shaffer and Lepley combined for four.
Whittier remains at home next Thursday, March 22 when they host Elmhurst College beginning at 7:00pm.