KINGS POINT, N.Y (Feb. 28, 2015) – The USMMA men's lacrosse team opened up the 2015 season in grand fashion on Saturday, hosting the first-annual Wounded Warrior Tribute Day and defeating arch-rival Coast Guard, 19-9, in front of a fantastic crowd at Brooks Stadium. Throughout the day, the men's lacrosse program honored numerous heroes from Wounded Warrior Project that were in attendance for the contest, including two honorary team captains who joined the teams for the opening coin toss.
On the field, senior Geoff Harty (Chicago, Ill.) had a fantastic day, recording a game-high nine points on seven goals and two assists. Freshman Pat Coll (Clifton Park, N.Y.) had five points in his first collegiate game, scoring three times and adding two assists, while classmate Nick Treon (Danville, Pa.) registered two goals and two assists and senior Kyle Sammis (Dix Hills, N.Y.) had a goal and two helpers.
Junior Rob Tirrito (Centerport, N.Y.) and senior Troy Smith (Deer Park, Texas) chipped in with two goals each and the Mariners also had tallies from sophomore Chris Whitenack (East Meadow, N.Y.) and junior Eric Kennedy (Massapequa, N.Y.). Senior Ray Waters (Sayville, N.Y.) led all players with three assists, while Kennedy added a helper, as did freshman Tucker Dodson (Charleston, S.C.).
The Merchant Marine defense was strong, causing seven of the Bears' 17 turnovers on the game. Senior Connor Willcox (McKinney, Texas) had two caused turnovers on the day. Whitenack was 16-for-31 from the faceoff-X and picked up a game-high 10 groundballs. In goal, senior Alex Peyreigne (Weston, Conn.) picked up the victory after making seven saves. He also recorded six ground balls. Peyreigne was replaced by freshman JC Phillips (Lake Mohawk, N.J.) with over three minutes remaining in the game and Phillips made one save.
Whitenack began the scoring on the afternoon, finding the back of the net just 1:23 into the contest off an assist by Coll. Coast Guard tied it up just over a minute later when freshman Matt Huemme recorded the first goal in USCGA men's lacrosse NCAA history. The tally was assisted by his brother, junior Justin Huemme. The Mariners went on to score the next 10 goals of the game spanning until 9:11 of the second quarter, including three-straight and five total by Harty. The USMMA lead was up to 12-3 at halftime.
In the second half, the Bears scored back-to-back goals to come within seven, 12-5, but Merchant Marine responded by finding the twine four straight times before the third quarter ended. Coast Guard scored four of the last seven goals, but it was not enough to overcome the deficit.
The Bears were led by junior Robert McKenna, who scored a hat-trick with one goal in the first half and two in the second. The Huemme brothers both finished with a goal and an assist and five other players recorded one point throughout the game. In goal, despite six saves, sophomore Ryan Carpenter suffered the loss after three quarters of play. He was replaced by freshman Kurt Caminske to start the fourth quarter. Caminske made four saves in 15 minutes of action.
The Mariners (1-0) return to action on Sunday, March 8, with another home contest. This squad will host the Oswego State Lakers (0-0) at 12-noon at Brooks Stadium. The Lakers (0-0) had their first game of the season cancelled, but will play twice before Sunday – at SUNYIT on Tuesday and at SUNY Maritime on Saturday.
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