Statesmen Fall in First KCAC Game

Oskaloosa — The men’s lacrosse team for William Penn finally got to play in a Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference matchup Wednesday night against St. Ambrose. The #9 Fighting Bees outscored the Statesmen in the first and second quarters to take a 4-2 lead at the break. Despite WPU matching St. Ambrose in the second half, they could not muster up a comeback, falling 7-5 at the end of the contest. William Penn falls to 2-4 overall and 0-1 in KCAC play.

The first quarter saw St. Ambrose take the first shot of the game, but Jeremy Smith (Sr., Camano Island, Wash., Sociology), who got the nod in goal, watched it sail wide. Noah George (Fr., Hillsboro, Ore.) took the first two shots for William Penn, but the first was wide and the second was blocked en route, and SAU took advantage. Coming down the field and setting up in the offensive end, they took a long shot that bounced on the way towards the goal, beating Smith to the short side. With 10:51 on the board, the Fighting Bees enjoyed a 1-0 lead.

The Statesmen could not generate a shot the next time they entered the offensive and St. Ambrose brought it back the other way. They missed a couple shots before Smith came up with another stop to keep the score close. Finding an outlet, the Statesmen worked the ball up the field.

Max Standage (Fr., Phoenix, Ariz., Business Management) completed the clear for the navy and gold and, given plenty of space, kept his run going until he was in close, forcing SAU goalie Nolan Hayes to make a save. After he made the stop, Hayes made an errant pass, as he then came up with a 10-bell save on Brady Treloar (Fr., Portland, Ore., Business Management), who could not convert on the open look.

With 5:30 left in the quarter, the Statesmen entered the attacking end and Collin Baliva (Fr., St. Louis, Mo.) zipped a pass over to Tim Pennington (Fr., Boise, Idaho, Biology), who was wide open in front of the goal crease. He beat Hayes with a wrist shot low to the near post to tie the game at 1-1.

St. Ambrose put the pressure back on William Penn with 2:45 to go as they got their attack going on all cylinders, forcing Smith to come up with a couple quality saves. However, after the Statesmen blocked a shot, it came to an attacker for the Fighting Bees who put it past Smith to give the visitors a 2-1 lead.

SAU increased their lead to 3-1 just three minutes into the second quarter. Now down two, the navy and gold opened a lane towards the net for George, who made a slick left-right deke with the stick, and stuck the shot in the top corner to bring WPU within one.

St. Ambrose answered three minutes later, scoring with 5:13 left in the half. Baliva unloaded one more shot in the half, but that was all WPU could muster, trailing at the half 4-2.

The team was outshot 21-16 in the first 30 minutes. WPU picked up four ground balls and got six saves from Smith. The team was also 3-for-8 in the faceoff department and 10-for-11 on clearances.

The third period started off with St. Ambrose dominating possession, taking four shots over the span of two minutes. Yet, the Statesmen held the line, forcing the Fighting Bees into a stall violation. Pennington got another open looked, but missed wide, and the Statesmen struggled to get much else going offensively.

Pennington recorded another shot that Hayes stopped with 6:38 to go, but the team was again held in check for three more minutes of action. Then, after a quick clear, Baliva got open and bounced one past Hayes to the near post to make it 4-3 in favor of SAU. With the clock running down in the third, St. Ambrose got the final possession and scored, taking a 5-3 lead into the final quarter.

Down 6-3 a minute into the fourth, the Statesmen got one back with 9:01 to go in the game. Carter Lucas (Fr., Minneapolis, Minn., Mechanical Engineering) created a little space and bounced a shot up and over Hayes to make it 6-4.

SAU went up 7-4 just about 90 seconds later. The Fighting Bees got another spell of quality offensive zone time, but William Penn once more kept them at bay. With 5:18 to go, the Statesmen got their final goal of the game. Eli Dillon (Fr., Portland, Ore.) skipped a shot in to the far side of Hayes to bring the lead back down to two. Despite a flurry of shots over the final five minutes, the Statesmen could not get another tally to lose by two.

William Penn was outshot 43-34, but only 21-18 in the shots on goal category. St. Ambrose picked up 20 ground balls, while WPU snagged 11. The visitors also controlled the faceoff circle, winning 11 of 16 draws. The Statesmen were better with 17 clears in 19 attempts, while SAU was 13-for-17.

Smith made 11 saves in the game. Boston Romero (Fr., Las Vegas, Nev., Business) paced the team with seven shots (four on goal). Baliva had five shots reach the goal among his six total attempts, while George and Pennington each had four total shots.

“Tonight we saw a great effort from our guys with some key elements coming close to breaking through,” Head Coach Luke Christiansen said. “We have a lot to take away from this game in regards to executing down the stretch and closing out games.”

Next Up: The team takes on #8 Aquinas on Friday in Grand Rapids, Mich., at 1 p.m. (CST).

Posted by on Mar 4 2021. Filed under College Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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