Men’s lacrosse wins home opener

Liberty University’s men’s club lacrosse team upended the Mountaineers of Appalachian State on a frigid Saturday afternoon 16-11 behind the play of sophomore Kurt Tobias and freshman John Ferris.

Moving forward — David Noll (20) ripped a shot to break a 5-5 tie late in the first half. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

Ferris led the way for the Flames with five goals and an assist while Tobias added two goals and four assists.

“Today we were able to get (Tobias) and (Ferris) in good positions to score goals,” head coach Kyle McQuillan said. “(Tobias) has great ball possession and awareness of where he needs to be. Today, he did a great job of drawing two defenders then finding the open man.”

“We were able to switch up guys a lot and confuse the defense, especially with our backdoor cuts,” Ferris said. “We also were able to force some mistakes and take advantage of them.”

The tandem of Tobias and Ferris worked wonders the entire game. Their partnership on the playing field stems from their work ethic on the practice field, as well as their relationship off it.

“We work a lot with each other in practice, and we also do a lot of stuff together outside of lacrosse,” Tobias said.

The Flames were able to control the tempo throughout the game. They pushed the tempo on counter attack and slowed it down when playing in the offensive zone, keeping the ball moving and waiting for holes to open up in the defense.

“That’s part of lacrosse,” McQuillan said. “Knowing when to push it and when to slow down. We try to get the right people in the right places at the right times, and today we did.”

Strong defensive play by sophomores Nathan Lowmaster and Travis Briggs, and senior Michael Zumpano, led to counter attacks for the Flames.

The Mountaineers drew first blood when their attacking tandem opened up the scoring for the day after, coming on a give and go play then putting it by the Flames junior goaltender Asa Keimig. The Flames responded by scoring four straight goals from Tobias, sophomore Dan Forbes, Ferris and freshman Will Perkins.

With 35 seconds remaining in the first half, senior David Noll attacked on the right side, gave his defender a little shimmy then ripped a left handed shot to hand the Flames a 6-5 lead heading into the halftime break.

The Flames pulled away in the second half by scoring three goals in the span of 20 seconds. Derek Haywood slithered through the center of the Mountaineer defense and cranked a shot into the top corner. Thirteen seconds later, sophomore Travis Briggs played a quick pass to Ferris, who flipped it to Forbes, who slipped it by the flat-footed Mountaineer net minder. On the ensuing faceoff, Perkins won the ball, beat a defender, then passed it to Ferris who stepped it by the goalie to increase the Flames lead to 9-5.

The Flames’ next game is Friday, March 2, when they play host to the Eagles of Reinhardt University. The Flames will then go on a four game road trip where they will play four days in a row.

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