Flames hold off new rival GWU in scrimmage, skills contest
October 12, 2013 | Lynchburg, Va.
Now officially members of Division I in the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association, Liberty University's men's lacrosse team hosted new SouthEastern Lacrosse Conference North West Region rival George Washington in its first scrimmage of the fall season, Saturday at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.
As they had in their first meeting last spring in Washington, D.C, the Flames prevailed, only this time by a closer 11-8 margin.
"It was a really good time. We've been working so hard, it felt great to finally play someone else. Hats off to George Washington for coming out. It's a four-hour drive, it's a really rainy day so kudos to them," Liberty sophomore faceoff specialist Charles Fianko said.
Head coach Kyle McQuillan introduced a trophy that the two teams will play for every time they meet in the spring called the Victory Bell. The Flames kept it with them Saturday after winning a four-event post-game skills competition that tested players on their shooting speed and accuracy.
"Every time we play in the spring, the Victory Bell award is going to go with the winning team, but this was just kind of a fun way to hand it out for the first time," McQuillan said. "I wanted to put it out there so they knew there was something to play for and to start a tradition."
GWU won the first two events, with 6-foot-6, 225-pound senior midfielder David Goscinak and junior attack Charles Frattini topping 100 mph on shots into the net and another Colonial putting a long-range shot into the opposite goal. Liberty won the third and fourth events, with sophomore attack Ryan Miller and freshman attack Chad Moore each making three out of five shots from the perimeter past the GWU goalie and Flames keeper Ethan Kamholtz converting one of five to win the tie-breaker in a goalie shootoff. After edging the Colonials in an accuracy shootoff to knot the competition at 2-2, Liberty assistant coach Jesse Glauser won an accuracy tie-breaker against a GWU assistant coach.
In the actual scrimmage that preceded it, Liberty opened a 7-3 halftime lead and extended it to 11-6 with three goals late in the fourth quarter, the first by Moore (two goals) on a blistering shot from the top of the box.
"Chad had a big game today," McQuillan said of the transfer from Mercer University. "He has DI level of lacrosse experience and he's got some maturity, so we're hoping to get a lot from him."
Moments later, Bryce Mrakovich (two goals) made a run from the left wing and found Kurt Tobias posting up in the left side of the box for a turnaround finish before Skyler Sipe took a feed from Ryan Miller (two goals), dodged defenders on the right baseline, and bounced an off-balanced shot in for the Flames' final score.
"Because it's just a scrimmage, we weren't keeping stats," McQuillan said. "Overall, we were trying to get all of our numbers in and it was a good opportunity to be able do that and to come away with a win was just a bonus."
He is always trying to develop his team's tenacity to put opponents away, and said that still is a work in progress.
"We just need to be more disciplined and play every game like it's our last, regardless of the score, regardless of who we're playing or what situation we're in," McQuillan said. "It's always difficult in the fall to try to motivate guys that we need to be competitive when nothing's on the line. So for us, we just need to work on our mental toughness. We've got a lot of young kids. We just need to be competitive and come out and give it 100 percent."
Liberty will host an alumni game next Saturday at 10 a.m. before playing St. Andrews, an MCLA DII program looking to move up to DI as the Flames have, on Oct. 26.
Images by Ty Hester/Liberty University