ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. – Eight different players scored goals Wednesday afternoon, as the Elizabethtown men’s lacrosse team opened its season with authority, beating perennial NCAA Tournament contender Dickinson, 8-6, at Wolf Field in the first meeting between the two programs.
Dickinson has what the Blue Jays are striving for: a pair of conference titles and NCAA quarterfinal appearances in the last four season.
Elizabethtown (1-0) is rejuvenated and hungry. Both were evident in the 2015 season opener.
Last year’s Commonwealth Conference Rookie of the Year, Joe Clark, started the scoring with an unassisted goal at 9:57 of the first quarter. Jason Clough (5:19 of the first), Jimmy Waters (11:04 of the second) and Cody Larkin (4:05 of the second) also scored in the first half to help the Jays build a 4-2 lead.
When the Red Devils (0-1), who were 18-1 two seasons ago and received votes in this year’s USILA Division III Top 25 Preseason Poll, drew even at four after a Tyler Llewellyn goal 4:56 into the third, Elizabethtown showed poise, answering with its own 3-0 run to push its lead back to 7-4.
The sophomore brother tandem of Nick Specht and Mike Specht played a role in all three goals. Nick finished the third quarter scoring at 6:50, while Mike opened the fourth with a marker at 12:26. Mike then set up Russ LeClair’s goal five minutes later.
Dickinson wasn’t through, though. Rob Kendall made it a two-goal game with 4:13 remaining and 14 seconds later Chris Menard completed his hat trick to bring the visitors back within one.
Freshman Kevin Meakim picked an opportune time for his first career goal, using a beautiful individual effort to weave through the Red Devil defense and add some insurance with less than two minutes to go.
Mike Specht and Larkin each finished with a goal and an assist for the blue and gray. Mike Tangredi forced three turnovers, while Matt Frey and Jake Snyder registered two apiece. Frey and Luke Stephens were credited with a game-high seven ground balls.
Wednesday’s opener featured 67 combined turnovers. Both teams had ample opportunity to turn one another’s mistakes into goals in an evenly played contest. Sophomore Matt Rucci won 8-of-15 face-offs for the Jays, while Greg Castro did the same for Dickinson.
In goal, Chris Wenger came up huge in the second half, recording seven of his eight saves, including four in the fourth quarter. Dickinson would outshoot E-town 31-22, but both teams ended the game with 14 attempts on target.
Elizabethtown will go for another home win Saturday when it hosts SUNY Oneonta at 1 p.m.