Flames tame Tigers, 18-4, remain undefeated on home field
March 30, 2014 | Lynchburg, Va.
Following four straight games decided by two goals or less, Liberty University's men's lacrosse team got a bit of a breather on a blustery Sunday afternoon, blowing out Auburn, 18-4, on the Liberty Lacrosse Fields.
"We were able to do all the things that we wanted to," Flames Head Coach Kyle McQuillan said. "We had the fast break going, we were moving the ball well, we were able to get up pretty quickly and use a lot of different guys, so it was good. Our stat sheet's pretty busy in terms of how many guys not only got in the game, but were able to get on the scoreboard."
Liberty (9-3, 2-0 SELC Northwest Region) led 5-0 after the first quarter and 11-1 at the half to give junior goalie Ethan Kamholtz (13 saves) more than enough offensive support against the Tigers (0-11, 0-3 SELC Southwest Region).
Sophomore attack Ryan Miller scored three goals and distributed two assists; senior attack Kurt Tobias added two goals and two assists; freshman midfielder Chad Moore netted three goals; and junior attack Chris Armstrong scored a goal and three assists to spark the offense while senior midfielder Derek Haywood and freshman attack Stephen DiPaola each scored twice.
"It's definitely nice to get out in front and it gives us some opportunities to work on some other stuff and get some more guys in," Moore said. "It's good for everybody, experience-wise."
Moore started the second-quarter scoring by taking a pass from Armstrong and whipping an outside shot into the upper netting past Auburn senior goalie William Riley. Tobias then answered a fast-break score by Tigers attack Ian McKinley with a goal from about the same spot as Moore's, also set up by Armstrong, before Moore scored off an assist from Tobias to stretch the lead to 8-1.
"Everybody played smart out there and controlled the ball," Moore said. "(Armstrong) did a good job of getting away from his man and giving guys opportunities to score."
The Flames also got goals from junior midfielder Craig Darling, freshman midfielder Alexander Ehrich, junior midfielder Daniel Ehrich, freshman midfielder Jonathan Yantz, sophomore faceoff specialist Charles Fianko, and senior long-stick midfielder Michael Zumpano, who finished fast-break assists from sophomore midfielder Bryce Mrakovich and Tobias for a commanding 13-1 third-quarter advantage.
"Z (Zumpano) scoring isn't something that surprises me with his speed and his transition game, but for Charles (Fianko) to score right up off the faceoff was kind of cool," McQuillan said. "When they face off, he actually had the ball in the back of his stick still when he shot and scored that, so it was kind of a unique goal for him."
He hopes the Flames can continue the offensive production on the home stretch of their regular season.
"We needed to have a good game this week because we play (George Washington next) Saturday, then Monday we play West Virginia, and then Friday is the last game of the season against Virginia Tech," McQuillan said. "This is a good opportunity for us to be able to build some confidence and get some momentum going into practice next week."
Liberty improved to 4-0 at home this season going into its final three games, all against Northwest Region opponents.
"Something we're really proud of is the fact that we don't lose at home," McQuillan said. "We haven't lost at home this season, we didn't lose at home at all last season, so that's something we want to continue."
The Flames can clinch one of two bids out of their region into the SELC Division I tournament in Atlanta by beating GWU and West Virginia. If Virginia Tech stays undefeated in regional play until the April 18 game at Liberty, that contest would determine who gets the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs.
Images by Lizzy Benson/Liberty University