Nazareth tops Washington, 9-5 Shoremen held to 1 goal over last 39 1/2 minutes

March 15, 1998|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Nazareth didn't wait for overtime this season.

After capturing Division III national titles over Washington College in overtime over the past two seasons, the top-ranked Golden Flyers put away the No. 2 Shoremen in the second half yesterday with a 9-5 win at Homewood Field.

Nazareth (1-0) held Washington College (2-1) to one goal for the final 39 1/2 minutes. The Shoremen have lost only six times in their past 20 games, but half of those losses have come against the Golden Flyers.

"In the second half, they didn't seem to want to go to the cage," said Nazareth goalkeeper Jake Coon, who made 13 saves. "I'm not sure why; maybe they're out of condition. We're definitely a team defense, and it all starts with communication."

The Golden Flyers closed out the game with a 7-1 run, but Coon kept it close in the first half.

In the first quarter, he made four saves when his teammates only shot the ball three times. Coon continually frustrated the Shoremen, who converted only three times on 15 first-quarter shots.

"Sometimes we feel that we want the other team to shoot, so our goalie can make the save and we can get the ball back," Nazareth coach Scott Nelson said. "He's such a great goalie and a great athlete. He's like a defenseman out there."

Watch Coon when the opposition shuts down his outlet passing. He'll clear the ball himself, sprinting up field to the attack.

Attempt to take the ball away from him and he'll make an around-the-back pass. Try to beat him to a ground ball, and he'll knock players over to grab the loose ball.

But the Shoremen, who haven't beaten the Golden Flyers since 1990, weren't impressed by Coon.

"We have to get smarter on our shot selections," midfielder Michael Wilson said. "There were a couple of points where he was dropping to his knees before the ball was out of our sticks. We got to realize we have to shoot high in that situation. And then finally when we started to shoot high, there were slow shots; he realized that and saved them."

Wilson scored both of his goals in the final three minutes of the first quarter to give the Shoremen a 3-1 lead. After trading goals, Washington College held a 4-2 advantage 5 1/2 minutes into the second quarter but slowly gave the game away with its ineffectiveness on offense, scoring one goal the remainder of the contest.

The Golden Flyers tied the game at 4 with three minutes left in the first half when John Nevin scored on a hard, around-the-back shot. With 25 seconds remaining in the half, Kieran McNamara handed Nazareth the lead for good at 5-4 by splitting two defenders for an open shot.

The Shoremen had several ways to stay in the game. They dominated possession, winning 13 of 18 faceoffs and maintaining a 59-33 edge in ground balls.

Nevertheless, Washington College only shot 38 times and never looked to feed the ball inside.

"Well we had the opportunity to play a big lacrosse game and we didn't perform well in it," Washington College coach John Haus said. "You have to be able to finish plays. You can't just take one step of a play and then have a turnover after that or miss the goal. Everything has to be completed. Obviously at this point in time, they're much better than we are."

Pub Date: 3/15/98

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