Rumberger scores hat-trick in the loss
NORTON, Mass. – The Wheaton College men's lacrosse team fell to the University of New England (UNE) by a 12-11 score in the season opener for both squads on Saturday afternoon at Nordin Field.
Wheaton junior attack Kyle Rumberger (Hyannis, Mass./Barnstable) led the offense with his first career hat-trick alongside four ground balls and one caused turnover. Sophomore Will Morrison (Osterville, Mass./Salisbury School) and senior captain Matthew Hillman (Brookline, Mass./Brookline) both compiled two goals and dished out two assists for a game-high four points.
Sophomore Kyle Neale (Brooklyn, N.Y./Saint James School), first-years Griffin Phaneuf (Manchester, N.H./The Derryfield School) and Zachary Brode (Boulder, Colo./Boulder) and sophomore Ryan Gjerset (Austin, Texas/St. Michael's Catholic Academy) all scored one goal apiece.
The Nor'easters received two goals each from sophomore Dan Auger (Nashua, N.H./Nashua South), junior Sam Cloutier (Lewiston, Maine/Lewiston), sophomore David Rubenstein (Somers, N.Y./Somers), senior Shamus Higginbottom (New Milford, Conn./New Milford) and first-year Tom Luttrell (Greenbrae, Calif./Redwood). Seniors Geoff Bruno (Durham, Conn./Xavier) and Pat Reid (Southington, Conn./Southington) rounded out the scoring for UNE with solo tallies, coming in the first and fourth periods, respectively.
Wheaton outshot the visitors, 46-34, and also held a 45-37 differential in ground balls. UNE went 16-for-28 in its clear attempts, while the Lyons were 14-for-24 in transition. At the face-off X, the Nor'easters were 16-for-26 and Wheaton was 10-for-26.
Sophomores Connor Leggett (Sunderland, Vt./Cushing Academy) and Sean Conger (Holden, Mass./Wachusett Reg.) split duties at the X for UNE and went 9-for-13 and 7-for-13, respectively. In goal, Wheaton junior Ryan Clair (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School) made 11 stops and Nor'easters junior goalkeeper John Dusel (Wilbraham, Mass./Minnechaug Reg.) turned away a game-high 16 shots.
Down 8-11 to start the final period, Gjerset buried his first goal of the season at 11:28 off a feed from Morrison to cut into the deficit at 11-9. Reid responded for UNE with 4:31 remaining in the matchup on a pass by Rubenstein to reclaim its three-goal gap. The Lyons answered with back-to-back goals at the 3:30 mark (Rumberger) and with 20-seconds remaining (Brode), but their comeback bid fell short with a turnover on the final possession after a face-off win by Neale.
Rubenstein opened up the scoring for the visitors just one minute and ten seconds into the contest before Morrison sniped a behind-the-back goal at the 9:15 mark off a feed from behind the net by Hillman. The Nor'easters went on to outscore the hosts 4-2 over the remainder of the period to secure a a 5-2 lead after the first 15 minutes of action.
Both teams were then even in goals, 6-6, before Wheaton outscored UNE, 3-1, in the final period.
Defensively, Lyons' sophomore Matt Filardo (East Greenwich, R.I./The Prout School) caused two turnovers and scooped up six ground balls, while Phaneuf had seven ground balls. Nor'easters senior Steven Hughes (Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central) paced the squad with six ground balls and junior Nick George (Simsbury, Conn./Simsbury) forced a team-high three turnovers.
Wheaton (0-1) hosts UMass Dartmouth on Tuesday, March 3 at 4 p.m. on Nordin Field. UNE (1-0) travels to Bates next Tuesday for a non-conference matchup at 7 p.m.