BRIDGEWATER, Va. – Sophomore Derrick Daniels scored his third goal of the afternoon with 8:39 to play in regulation to hand the Bridgewater Eagles men's lacrosse team a two-goal lead and the Eagles held on down the stretch to upend visiting Alma by a 6-5 score on Tuesday afternoon at the Jopson Athletic Complex.
The win is Bridgewater's second-straight season opening victory, following last season's 8-4 victory over Transylvania.
After an feeling-out period from both teams to open the contest, the visiting Scots got on the board first quarter with 8:26 to play in the first when TJ Miller found the back of the net off of a pass from Kyle Schnitzer to put Alma out in front 1-0.
Bridgewater responded in the waning seconds of the quarter as freshman Michael Darby netted the equalizer as time expired on the frame to tie the contest up at a goal each after 15 minutes of play. Daniels assisted the Darby tally.
A slow moving second quarter went the way of the Eagles as Bridgewater tallied the go-ahead goal with under three to play in the opening half. Daniels netted his first goal of the game – an up goal – with 2:51 to play in the second stanza to build a 2-1 lead which the Eagles would take to the intermission. Sophomore Kevin Ashcraft assisted on the Daniels tally.
The Eagles wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard in the second stanza as Darby got back on the board just 48 ticks into the second half to extend the Bridgewater lead to 3-1.
Alma answered the Bridgewater goal just over a minute later, capitalizing on a Bridgewater turnover. Alex Novak scored an unassisted goal to cut the deficit to one prior to David Foster getting in on the scoring after he took a pass from Schnitzer and found the back of the net to tie the game up at three goals each with 10:45 to play in the third.
Following the Foster tally, both teams had opportunities but the defenses were up to the task during the middle portion of the quarter. With just over four minutes to play in the third, Daniels got back on the score sheet with his second goal of the day, this time an unassisted tally to put Bridgewater up 4-3 which is how the third quarter would end.
Both teams started the final frame with a stick-violation penalty before the Scots picked up a delay of game penalty just under two minutes into the fourth quarter. Bridgewater quickly made the visitors pay when freshman Max Ruffing registered a man-up goal for his first career tally to extend the lead to 5-3.
Alma cut the Bridgewater lead back to one with 11:19 to play when Miller found the back of the cage again off of a Schnitzer pass to cut the Eagles advantage to 5-4.
Daniels' goal with 8:39 gave the Eagles a solid two-goal cushion but Alma wouldn't go down without a fight.
The visiting Scots tallied a goal with 4:38 to play on an Alex Novak man-up tally to trim the Bridgewater lead back to one, 6-5
A penalty on Ruffing gave Alma new life with under 90 ticks to play and the Scots had opportunities late in the game but the Eagles forced a turnover late in the contest and ran out the clock to secure a 6-5 win.
Daniels' three-goal effort led the way for the Eagles as the sophomore accounted for half of Bridgewater's scoring. Darby helped lead the Eagles with eight shots and a pair of goals as Bridgewater outshot Alma by a slim 30-25 tally.
Sophomore faceoff specialist Sam Cheplick registered a game-high nine ground balls in the win.
Netminder Andrew Buss picked up his first victory of the year after turning away nine Alma scoring chances.
Alma was paced offensively by two-goal efforts from Miller and Novak. Novak registered a team-high seven shots while Miller added five.
Goalkeeper Al Lesperance picked up the loss after posting nine saves along the way.
Bridgewater is back in action on Saturday at home when it hosts Marywood. Opening faceoff with the Pacers is set for 1 p.m.