Frigid temperatures, fog, rain and Reinhardt University could not stop Liberty University men’s lacrosse team Friday night as the Flames trounced the Eagles 20-11.
“Tonight was an opportunity for us to showcase what we have been working on,” head coach Kyle McQuillan said. “We got to try a lot of different things and see what kind of depth we have as a team.”
The Flames attacked mainly on isolation plays rather than the traditional pass and move style offense.
“We have a lot of players with very good stick skills, and I will take any of our guys in a one-on-one battle,” McQuillan said.
Sophomores Derek Haywood and Andrew Walter led the way for the Flames.
Walter tallied three goals and four assists while Haywood added four goals and one assist.
Haywood had a little extra motivation to do well, as some of his family were in the bleachers to watch him play for the first time ever.
“(My family) came down all the way from Pittsburgh to see me play, and I am really happy I was able to put on a show for them tonight,” Haywood said.
Haywood caused fits for Reinhardt’s defense all night as he repeatedly slashed right down the heart of the Eagles’ defense.
“We wanted to take our guys one-on-one and force the defense to slide over and leave guys open so we could dish it off but they did not do that, so I just took it myself and was able to score a few,” Haywood said.
Walter fooled the Reinhardt defenders with pump-fakes and was able to free himself up for shots.
“We moved the ball well today,” Walter said. “We had really good progression from defense to offense, which was able to get me isolated out wide.”
The highlight of the night came with 4:29 left in the first quarter when sophomore Kurt Tobias passed the ball to Walter, who shot it between his legs with his back to goal, to put the Flames up 5-2.
The Flames were without one of their main faceoff guys, freshman Will Perkins, because of ROTC commitments. Despite Perkins’ absence, Liberty was able to win the majority of the face-offs and keep the ball on their attacking end, limiting Reinhardt’s opportunities to attack.
Liberty never trailed in the game and was able to make sure that the outcome was never in doubt.
“It was big for us to show ourselves that we can bury teams and not let up,” Haywood said. “Last year we would get big leads then allow the other team to get back in the game, but not tonight.”
Sophomore Daniel Forbes also chipped in for the Flames with four goals, while fellow sophomores Miguel Lozada and Kurt Tobias each had two goals, respectively.
Sophomore net minder Asa Keimig held his own with nine saves.
The Flames are set to play four games in four consecutive days over spring break before returning home March 16 to square off against the Savannah College of Art and Design.