By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Following a pair of tough losses and battling the injury bug, the Capital University men's lacrosse team got back into a groove on Saturday afternoon with a slightly different look. The Crusaders used a strong showing by its special teams units and the leadership of sophomore C.J. Hughes to guide Cap to a 13-6 victory over Alma College at Bernlohr Stadium.
Photo gallery (credit: Joe Maiorana, Impact Action Sports Photography)
Capital (2-3) and Alma (2-6) both scored in pairs over the course of the first quarter, one in which featured four different CU goal scorers. Senior Johnathan Mundell (Mt. Holly Springs, Pa./Carlise) marked up the stat sheet first with a shot that was whipped in from the left wing less than three minutes into the contest. Junior Barrett Naugle (Champion, Pa./Greensburg Central) scored less than 60 seconds later on a quick scoop-and-score effort after quickly entering the attack area from the Alma's goaltender's left side.
Alma quickly retaliated and tied the game before hitting the mid-way point of the quarter, but the Crusaders were determined to leave the first with an advantage. Sophomore C.J. Hughes (Cincinnati, Ohio/Walnut Hills) got on the board with the first of six goals, which set the table for freshman Luke Wyatt (Springboro, Ohio/Springboro) to add to that lead. With 2:45 remaining, Wyatt scored his first collegiate goal with a quick shot from the right wing, giving Capital a 6-4 lead that was taken into the break.
Both of Capital's second-quarter goals came off the stick of Hughes with two of Capital's key young reserves chipping in to make the scores happen. Hughes recorded another team first after tallying CU's fifth goal while on the extra-man opportunity. Freshman midfielder Josh Glaser (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) gave a quick feed to Hughes and the finish was good, making the score 5-3. Hughes connected with another freshman, Doc Crimmel, just 13 seconds after Alma's retort to maintain that lead. For both Glaser and Crimmel, the helpers marked the first assists of their respective careers.
Back-to-back goals were not enough for Hughes. He went on to open the third quarter with two more to create a comfortable gap between the Scots and the Crusaders. After his fourth straight goal, the Capital special teams made a big statement. That statement helped put the game out of reach.
Capital had already successfully killed two penalties committed earlier in the contest and then its man-up offense stepped in to take over the rest of the quarter. Sophomore Ed Carroll (Fairfield, Ohio/Fairfield), who was moved into an attack role due to injuries, put his stamp on the scoring line with his first goal of the season with just 10 seconds left on the extra-man opportunity. A second penalty was called following the goal for unnecessary roughness and Capital cashed in with another EMO goal, this time by senior Teddy Crites (Waukee, Iowa/Waukee). Capital took a four-goal lead into the final frame and the Crusaders continued to pour it on with three additional goals before they slowed the pace to wind down the clock.
Capital went 3-for-4 on the man-up and kept Alma scoreless on its two chances. Capital also forced its guests into 20 turnovers, compared to its 14, with 13 of those miscues being credited to the defense.
The Crusaders dominated in two key categories, ground balls (45-27) and faceoffs. Sophomore Tyler Faig (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North) had the best day of his young career on the "x" by winning 19-of-23 faceoffs. He also scooped up nine ground balls.
Senior goaltender Cole Palmby (Delaware, Ohio/Delaware) made seven saves on 13 shots faced for his second win of the season.
Hughes' six goals were one short of the program single-season record held by Brennan O'Callaghan, who did not play in his second consecutive contest.
Only one Alma player recorded more than one goal or point on the day. Jared Nycz scored twice and earned two assists in the Scots' loss.
The next three Capital games will be played on the road, including its last nonconference contest before the Crusaders open Ohio Athletic Conference play. CU will play Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky. on Wednesday, March 21 with the first draw at 7 p.m.