ATLANTA, Ga.—Powered by seven straight goals and three saves from junior goalkeeper Conor Perine in the first 18 minutes of play, the Birmingham-Southern men's lacrosse team raced out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back en route to a 17-7 victory over Oglethorpe Sunday afternoon at Oglethorpe Field.
The match was the regular-season finale for both clubs heading in to the Southern Athletic Association Men's Lacrosse Championship starting next weekend. The victory improves the Panthers to 8-7 on the year and 4-3 in the conference. Additionally, the win clinched the fourth seed for the Panthers and the opportunity to host Hendrix in the conference tournament quarterfinals next Saturday, April 19. Oglethorpe now stands at 1-11 this season and 0-7 in league play. The Stormy Petrels will take on top-seeded Sewanee in the tournament quarterfinals.
The balanced scoring attack employed by the Panthers was seen early as six different players scored the seven goals that pushed BSC out to the commanding early lead. On the afternoon, five Panthers would tie for game-high honors in goals with two apiece. Four of the five Panthers, sophomore Luke Herline, freshman Thomas Grove, sophomore Austin Hafdell, and senior Peter Raffanti, with two goals on the afternoon notched at least one in the opening scoring barrage. The offensive display was temporarily interrupted by a pair of Oglethorpe goals, but the Panthers scored three unanswered goals in the final 4:40 seconds of the half to claim a 10-2 halftime advantage.
The final Panther with two goals, freshman McHale Schneider, found the net with the opening and final goal of the third quarter. After an unassisted goal from sophomore Gates Gentry to give BSC a 12-2 lead, freshman goalkeeper Hank Harris was placed into the game to preserve the lead. The freshman recorded a season-high four saves in his 23:42 of work.
In the fourth quarter, the Panthers would twice push the lead out to 11 after unassisted goals from freshman Morgan Schneider and sophomore Headley VanMeter. Sophomore Evan Lalande and VanMeter each had a game-high two assists.
BSC scooped up more ground balls, 42-26, took more shots, 48-26, and won more face offs, 18-10, than Oglethorpe.
The quarterfinal tilt against Hendrix will be hosted at Battle Field on Saturday, with a game time to be announced this week.