LAFAYETTE HILL, Pa. - Behind its best defensive effort in four years, the Saint Michael's College men's lacrosse team downed Chestnut Hill (Pa.) College, 7-4, on Tuesday evening at Victory Field. The Purple Knights improved to 1-2, registering the first win for new head coach Alex Smith, while the Griffins are 1-3.
In the teams' first meeting, the Purple and Gold yielded its fewest goals since a 10-4 win over Southern New Hampshire University on March 26, 2014. The Purple Knights blanked Chestnut Hill during the final 30:01 on Tuesday, turning in their first shutout half since blanking 12th-ranked Bentley University in the opening half on April 27, 2011. Senior Jake Sonberg (Bedford, N.H./Bishop Guertin) had 12 saves and three ground balls, classmate Neil Gallagher (Stowe, Vt./Green Mountain Valley School) scooped four ground balls with one caused turnover, and senior Dan Johnson (Ringwood, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) caused two turnovers, with Gallagher and Johnson anchoring a defensive unit that forced a season-high 22 turnovers.
Senior Charlie Murphy (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) scored twice and dished off to sophomore Alec Sharlow (Watertown, N.Y./South Jefferson), who finished with the goal and an assist. Murphy added three ground balls, as did junior Matt Cotter (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro Regional) and sophomore Ralph Grillone III (Brockton, Mass./Cardinal Spellman). Senior long-stick midfielder Johnny Karanasios (Bedford, N.H./Bishop Guertin) scored his first collegiate goal while scooping four ground balls, and classmate Bobby Frank (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Saratoga Springs) had a goal and two ground balls.
Junior Hunter Goodwin (Milton, Vt./Milton) and sophomore Justin Richmond (New Market, Md./Linganore) both scored, with Richmond causing two turnovers and pushing his career faceoff victories total to 110, passing Gerry Murphy '88 (108) for 10th in program history. First-year Jon Lockwood (Norwell, Mass./Norwell) contributed three caused turnovers and two ground balls.
Four players scored for the Griffins, while senior Dylan Klusaritz lent two assists but was held scoreless after entering the night second in Division II in goals per game (4.3). Classmate Matthew Pedrick made 11 saves.
Saint Michael's held a 14-3 advantage in first-quarter shots, but Pedrick had five stops in the frame, with only Frank scoring on him, at 10:19. Junior Nicholas Webber drew the squads even 1:51 later. The teams did the majority of scoring in the second period, with the hosts twice quickly countering the visitors. Murphy was fed by Sharlow at 13:10, but senior Joshua Pope tallied 2:47 after that. Richmond nabbed a ground ball in his own end and went straight to goal with 8:38 left, but first-year J.R. Howell tied it at 3-3 at 4:36.
Senior Dan Dromeshauser (Norwell, Mass./Norwell) won the ensuing draw, and Murphy converted first-year Joseph Gerardi's (Queensbury, N.Y./Queensbury) pass with 3:44 to go to put Saint Michael's up for good. Karanasios finished a clear by going directly to the net for his tally at 19 seconds, making it 5-3, before sophomore Scott Wilden scored one second before the half. That was the final goal for the hosts, as the Purple Knights allowed only 11 shots in the second half while forcing 11 turnovers.
Goodwin converted a man-up marker at 10:05 of the third off of Lockwood's assist, his first as a collegian, and Sonberg made five stops in the fourth quarter while Sharlow had an extra-man goal at 12:45 thanks to Murphy's team-leading fifth assist of the season.
The Purple Knights head to Georgian Court (N.J.) University on Thursday at 3:30 p.m.