By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – From start to finish in nearly all aspects of the game, Capital University Men's Lacrosse handled its business against the University of Mount Union. Saturday afternoon's 19-6 victory over the Purple Raiders sent a message that the Crusaders are far from out of the race for one of the top four spots in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
Senior Brennan O'Callaghan (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) entered the game the number one goal scorer in the country, sporting the nation's top goals per game mark (4.67). He once again showed his offensive dominance with seven goals and two assists against the Purple Raiders. He has scored seven goals three times this season, including in back-to-back games. He now has 19 points in the last four days and is now three points away from 300 in his career.
Sophomore Tyler Faig (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North) had a tough assignment on the X with Mount Union's faceoff specialist Chris Motter. Motter entered the game ranked second in NCAA Division III in faceoff percentage (.770). Faig won 6-of-10 faceoffs in the opening half to help Capital build a 7-2 lead through the opening 30 minutes. He finished 11-of-24, and Motter was just 11-for-20 against him before Mount Union sought an answer on the X from freshman Mike Moretti.
Sophomore Luke Wyatt (Springboro, Ohio/Springboro) made the first waves for Capital not only by scoring the game's first goal but also on how he approached the goal. After nearly nine minutes of scoreless lacrosse, Capital mounted its first successful attack when playing the ball back out onto the wing. Once Wyatt acquired possession, the Purple Raiders' perimeter defense attempted to check him but Wyatt continued to storm toward the cage, breaking the defender's stick and then skipping a shot into the cage to break the drought. View the video of Wyatt's goal!
The score after the first quarter settled at 1-1, but O'Callaghan and Company changed that in a hurry. Though Mount Union dominated possession over the first two minutes of the second quarter, the Crusaders did not waste time in changing the tone of the game. The senior attackman scored his first goal and the first of four in the quarter on Cap's second approach into Purple Raider territory to give them the lead. After sophomore Barrett Naugle (Champion, Pa./Greensburg Central) and junior Ryan Rampi (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby) helped break a 2-2 tie, O'Callghan poured on three more to give Cap a commanding 7-2 lead into the half.
With the score 8-4 and four minutes surpassed in the third quarter, Wyatt got the Capital crowd on its feet when he trucked his way toward his second goal. Again looking for an opening and facing a denying defense, Wyatt again chose to go through his defender. The freshman lowered his shoulder and knocked over the Mount defender and proceeded to send in another skip shot that found the back of the net. That goal set into motion a streak of six unanswered goals for CU and led to the hosts building a comfortable 14-4 lead. View the video of Wyatt's goal!
On the other end, the Capital defense frustrated the Purple Raiders which led to 35 total Mount Union turnovers. Fifteen of those were credited to a Capital defender, with Christopher Yeager (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby) earned a team-leading four causes. He also picked up three ground balls. Ten different Crusaders caused at least one turnover.
Capital was also more aggressive with loose balls, collecting 34 ground balls to Mount Union's 27. Sam Schooley (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington Central) led the Crusaders with five ground balls. Capital also kept Mount Union to just 12-of-23 on clear attempts and held a 54-28 shot advantage.
Between the posts, senior Cole Palmby (location) made nine stops on 15 shots on goal against to earn his seventh win of the season. His counterpart, Jake Krone, was peppered with 39 shots on goal and despite giving up 19 goals, he made 20 saves.
In his return to the lineup, Rampi not only brought back an additional distributor to work the offense but also score two goals and added an assist.
Capital (6-5, 3-2 OAC) has three contests left in the regular season that will dictate their postseason fate. The team have this Wednesday off but will hit the road in its next action against Heidelberg University on Saturday, April 21 at 1 p.m. The Crusaders will play their last two games at home on April 25 versus Wilmington College and on Saturday, April 28 versus Ohio Northern University.