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Mount St. Mary’s men’s lacrosse enduring some instability on defense

The Mount St. Mary's men's lacrosse team has played the first two games of the season without starting defenseman Daniel Barber (fractured foot) and with some uneven play in the cage.
The Mount St. Mary's men's lacrosse team has played the first two games of the season without starting defenseman Daniel Barber (fractured foot) and with some uneven play in the cage. (Baltimore Sun)

The Mount St. Mary’s men’s lacrosse team has opened the season at 0-2 without its top defenseman.

Senior Daniel Barber has sat out both games because of a broken bone in his right foot, coach Tom Gravante said after Saturday’s 15-13 loss at No. 19 Towson.

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“It’s a hairline fracture,” Gravante said. “He should be back hopefully within two weeks. Honestly, my staff and I, we’re not really worried as long as he’s ready for [Northeast Conference rival] Bryant [on March 17]. That’s what really means the most to our season once we get into conference play. So we’re just going really slow with him. If Danny had his choice, he’d be on the field today.”

After scoring just six goals in a loss to Johns Hopkins, No. 19 Towson men’s lacrosse used a 7-0 run in the second quarter to hold off Mount St. Mary’s.

Starting goalkeeper Matt Vierheller, who played all 60 minutes in a 16-12 loss at Delaware on Feb. 10, was pulled at halftime Saturday. After surrendering 12 goals and making five saves in the first two quarters, Vierheller was replaced by freshman Dylan Furnback, who allowed only three goals while making three stops.

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Gravante said he and associate head coach and defensive coordinator Tim McIntee had discussed the possibility of switching goalies before the game.

“If we felt that Matt wasn’t really on, we were going to give one of the freshman a shot,” Gravante said. “In this case, the guy that did well in practice was Dylan Furnback. I thought Dylan came off the bench and did a nice job.”

The defense has now given up 31 goals in two games, which is not a good sign for a unit that had returned four of seven starters. Gravante acknowledged that there is some work to be done on that end of the field.

“I still think that we’re finding our way,” he said. “We actually gave a couple short-stick DMs poles to give us more depth. They’re good athletes, and we’re still grooming some of our underclassmen and freshmen into the D-lineup. Danny’s going to add value right away. He’s a presence, a big, strong kid. For me, having a defenseman that has meanness like [ Towsonfreshman long-stick midfielder Koby Smith], that’s special. So all in time with Danny.”

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