St. Mary's can't dig out of early hole in 11-6 loss to Denison

The roller coaster ride for the St. Mary's men's lacrosse team continued its descent.

After opening the season with a 2-1 start that included a 13-12 upset of then-No. 11 Roanoke, the Seahawks dropped their third consecutive game, falling to No. 12 Denison, 11-6, at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field on Wednesday afternoon.

St. Mary's (2-4) found itself in a 4-0 deficit after the first 4:11 of the game and trailed 5-0 with less than six minutes to go in the first quarter.

"I'm proud of how we came back and made a game of it, but we've just got to come out stronger," said senior attackman Patrick Mull (Fallston), who led the Seahawks with three points on one goal and two assists. "To come out and go down 5-0, it's pretty difficult to win any game. We've just got to play better than that."

Perhaps because of the game's unusual noon start on a weekday, St. Mary's was slow out of the gate against the visiting Big Red, which scored four goals in a span of 3:36 en route to a 5-0 advantage. Five Denison players found the back of the cage during the run.

St. Mary's then mounted a rally. Sophomore attackman Matt Tarrant curled around the left post and beat freshman goalkeeper Chris Thomas (Loyola) with 2:02 left in the first quarter.

Mull found junior midfielder Gordy Long (St. Paul's) at the left wing for a blast with 11:16 remaining in the second period, and then sophomore midfielder Tim Perugini spun off sophomore defenseman Drew Newman and continued down the left alley to make the score 5-3 with 8:56 left.

But the Big Red added two quick goals courtesy of junior attackman Eddie Vita. He centered the ball to freshman Justin DeMarchi with 5:35 remaining and then skipped a shot from the left point past freshman goalie Joey Casey with 4:00 left. After that goal, Casey, an Ellicott City native and Mount St. Joseph graduate who had made just two saves, was pulled in favor of senior Scott Marsh (South River).

Mull scored with 3:16 remaining in the second quarter, but after halftime, Denison strung together four unanswered goals to put the game out of reach.

Marsh finished with 13 saves — including several at point-blank range — to spark the defense. Marsh, who spent his freshman year at Anne Arundel Community College and played the last two seasons on St. Mary's club team, broke his right thumb in the preseason and was cleared to return to the team only last week.

The Crofton native shrugged off the challenge of entering the contest with little preparation or experience.

"I've done it before a couple times, but you've always got to be prepared as a backup goalie," he said. "You take your warm-ups in the beginning of the game and help out any way you can. You never know when your number's going to get called."

The Seahawks committed 19 turnovers to the Big Red's 16, but 12 of St. Mary's gaffes occurred in the second half and came at critical moments, according to coach Chris Hasbrouck.

"It seemed today that it wasn't that we had an inordinate amount, but the ones we had were very costly, and that hurt us," he said. "We would climb back in and then we would get the ball, and then unfortunately, we'd turn it over at the worst times. You want as few as possible, but it just seemed that the ones we had were the brutal, deflating ones."

Vita led Denison with five points on four goals and one assist, and sophomore midfielder Matt King finished with three assists.

Coach Mike Caravana agreed that the team's quick start helped the Big Red (4-1).

"We were encouraged by that," he said. "I don't think anybody expects to come out and score on their first four or five shots. We were able to score pretty well and move the ball well. So we got them on their heels a little bit, and that gave us confidence. I thought we played a good solid game throughout. Even when they answered with their goals, we were able to score a couple goals and make some plays."

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