By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
ALMA, Mich. – Capital University Men's Lacrosse emphatically hit the 'on' switch to its offense en route to a 21-goal performance despite snow and cold plaguing Balhke Field. CJ Hughes hit a milestone as part of Cap's fast breakout and the Crusaders rolled with a 21-10 road win over Alma College on Saturday afternoon.
While Alma (1-2) scored first, Capital (2-1) scored more, and by a lot. An early penalty led to an Alma man-up goal but then the Crusaders came back to score six of the next seven in the first quarter. Senior Ryan Rampi (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby) tied the game with a goal with 7:51 on the board, but junior CJ Hughes' first goal made for a moment.
Working off a feed from freshman Jack Scharner, Hughes finished the deal with the first of six goals on the day. That goal marked his 100th career goal scored as a Crusader. He now is just the third Cap player to reach 100 goals in a career, joining Brennan O'Callaghan '18 and Brent Walton '17.
Rampi and Hughes would both have their numbers called again in the opening quarter as the Crusaders built a 6-2 lead over the Scots before exiting the frame.
Hughes continued his career day with a goal to lead off the second quarter to complete the hat trick. He would end up scoring three times in the second quarter alone, and then add an assist for good measure. His four-point quarter played a large factor in Cap ballooning its lead to nine goals, 12-3, before hitting the half.
Despite a change in net for Alma, the Crusaders continued to build upon its lead. Rampi kicked off Cap's scoring out of the break while Luke Wyatt (Springboro, Ohio/Springboro) and Talbott Gottwals (Columbia, Md./Atholon) also continued to add to their respective lines. Hughes completed the double hatty with his sixth and final score with just three seconds remaining in the third quarter.
With the score 16-7, the game was well in hand for Cap but the offense distributed the wealth to its younger players. Freshman Zach Heflin scored for the second straight game while classmate Spencer Towne posted two goals in his first action of the season. Sophomore Brendan Pontierre scored his first career goal in purple and white.
With nine points (6 goals, 3 assists) Hughes fell one short of his career high and the program record. Rampi ended the day with four goals and one assist, while Wyatt and Gottwals also tallied hat tricks against the Scots.
The Cap defense forced 18 Alma turnovers and was led by close defender Christopher Yeager's five ground balls. Tyler Faig and Lake Harris did work on the X by combining to go 24-for-34 (.706). Faig took 15-of-21 while Harris won 9-of-13 faceoffs.
Senior TJ Johnson (Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park) made nine saves on 18 shots on goal against before letting freshman Josh Snyder get a taste between the pipes for the remaining five and one half minutes.
Cap's next action will come on Wednesday night when the Crusaders host The College of Wooster at Bernlohr Stadium at 7 p.m. It will serve as the first of back-to-back home games this week, which includes a contest against Grove City College (Pa.) next Saturday (4 p.m.) in the nightcap of a Cap Lax doubleheader.