STEUBENVILLE, Ohio – Unseasonably cold weather and a Division II opponent made for a tough ending to the Baron lacrosse season. Despite a promising first few minutes, the game slipped away from FUS by the end of the first quarter and ended in a 20-3 loss to Walsh University.
"That just was not our best effort," head coach Pete Rosaschi said. "Walsh is a great program. They're well coached. Maybe it was the freezing cold, maybe it was the...I don't know what it was."
The first five minutes were probably the closest Franciscan got to their best effort with a few defensive stops and an athletic, diving goal from freshman attack Luke Gilman keeping the score even at 1-1.
Sophomore attack, David Erskine then won the face-off and gave Franciscan the chance to take an early lead but the third of what would eventually be 27 total Baron turnovers gave the ball back to Walsh. The Cavaliers then responded with five unanswered goals, pushing the game almost out of reach for Franciscan.
"It's pioneering," Rosaschi said about his second year program. "Out of 19 guys, six played high school lacrosse for four year. We played a really good team and sometimes you just have to accept that you're going to take some licks."
One of team's inexperienced but quickly improving players, freshman midfielder Joe Francis, ended the Cavalier's scoring streak with a man-up crank shot that found its way between the goalie's legs.
Francis continued to showcase his improving offensive arsenal in the third quarter with a lightning quick split-dodge through two Walsh defenders and an on-the-run finish from eight yards out.
"It was beautiful and he knew what to do; he finished," Rosaschi said. "That's the important part. He knew what to do at the end."
The two goals made Francis the team's leader in points for the day and also gave the freshman his third multi-goal game of the year.
While it was the freshman midfielder who left the biggest impact on the scoreboard for Franciscan, the game also honored the impact of its two seniors. Attacker Pat McNamara and defenseman Mike Fisher finished their time as Barons after playing for FUS during the first two years of the program.
"Fisher was a newcomer to lacrosse last season and considering that he never played prior to college he did a wonderful job," Rosaschi said. "Pat was a two-year captain for use and he has a very good shot. He showed that in our previous game with four goals and three assists."
The game concluded Baron lacrosse's second season as a program and while Franciscan didn't improve on their win total they did improve in most statistical categories including better season averages in goals scored and goals against.
"We'll get there. We have a good core coming back," Rosaschi said. "I told the guys, 'weight training for next season starts tomorrow.'"