DEFIANCE, Ohio — Franciscan University men's lacrosse started their second season as a program off with a bang, beating Defiance College 12-3 and not allowing a goal until two minutes into the fourth quarter.
The Barons travelled with 16 players, five having never played lacrosse before. Head coach Pete Rosaschi said the team was well prepared and confident they could run with Defiance, but due to snow during the preseason they haven't been able to have a full field practice.
"The good news and bad news about that is that we couldn't practice with a full field but our short field game was really good," Rosaschi said. "So our passing did very well."
Eight minutes into the first period, freshman attack Luke Gilman scored the first goal of the season, followed up by a goal from sophomore attack William Erskine. A goal from another freshman, Paul Modzelewski, put the Barons up 3-0 with 12 minutes left in half and the FUS defense and goalie that carried the shutout into the half
"I think we had a little bit of nerves in the first half, but then they just settled down and played a great second half." Rosaschi said. "We just played smart lacrosse."
Eight minutes into the third, returning sophomore Ryan Zbikowski scored the Baron's first long-pole goal of the season and from there the flood gates opened. Franciscan rode a 6-0 run into the fourth quarter, giving FUS a comfortable 9-0 lead.
With 12 minutes to go, Defiance ended the shutout but the Baron offense continued to thrive and finish the game with a 12-3 win.
"I feel awesome," head coach Pete Rosaschi. "I am really, really proud of our guys and what they went through and what they did. Defiance is a tough team. They're well-coached and it was really nice to see our guys come together."
The offensive was led by 6 points from Gilman who finished with three goals and three assists. Six different Barons finished with points with even scoring from Gilman, Erskine, Modzelewski, and returning midfielder Patrick McNamara.
While the offense was even, it was the defense that shined. Freshman goalkeeper Jonah Soucy saved 13 of 16 shots faced while the defense forced Defiance into 39 turnovers.
"Our defensive end was phenomenal," Rosaschi said. "We shut them out for three periods, which is pretty much unheard of in lacrosse. The defensive guys just did an outstanding job and they are really coming together."
After a big win to start the season for Baron lacrosse, Rosaschi said the team still has much to work on. He said they would focus on tempo and passing in the coming weeks.
"It's clear we have some work to do," Rosaschi said. "But they did a phenomenal job. They played exceptionally well as a team. They looked for each other and I am very proud of how they came together and played as a team. It was great to get that first win of the season."
Franciscan University men's lacrosse plays next on Feb. 26 against Washington and Jefferson at 6 p.m.