It was a tale of two halves as the Bellarmine University lacrosse team hung on for an 11-10 victory over Robert Morris in its season debut on Saturday afternoon at Owsley B. Frazier Stadium.
After looking practically invincible in sprinting out to 10-0 lead, Bellarmine managed just one second half goal as the Colonials roared back and cut the lead to just one with 20 seconds remaining on the clock. Bellarmine’s Connor Harryman won the ensuing faceoff, and the Knights were able to kill the remaining clock to hang on for the win.
“Crazy doesn’t cover it,” Bellarmine Coach Kevin Burns said about the game. “We got a “W” and that’s half the battle,” he said. “You have to give Robert Morris a lot of credit. They were really resilient.”
The game appeared to heading for a blowout win for the Knights. Harryman was having a perfect day in the “X,” and the Bellarmine offense was clicking with Dylan Gatt registering a hat trick and Jack Perkins, Bobby Schmitt and Tucker Ciessau each adding two goals and Daniel Zamora scoring once before the Colonials got on the scoreboard.
With just 37 seconds remaining in the first half, RMU finally registered a goal, taking advantage of a man up opportunity.
After the break, it was a reversal of fortunes as the Knights could not find the back of the net, and Colonials methodically started a comeback.
Robert Morris scored the first six goals of the second half to trim the lead to 10-7 before Perkins netted his third goal of the day on a man up opportunity with 5:15 remaining in the game.
Perkins’ goal ended up being the game winner as the Colonials scored three goals in the game’s final 1:55.
“I think we got away from our game plan a little bit in the second half,” Burns said. “I told the team after the game that you tend to learn more from a loss, but with this kind of game, we got the win and we also got a lot we can learn from. I think the main thing we learned today is that when we do what we’re supposed to do and are patient on offense we can be pretty good, but when we get away from that, we struggle.”
A highlight for Bellarmine was faceoff play, where Harryman took all 24, winning 21. “Connor was unbelievable,” Burns said. “Between Connor and all the guys who played on the wing-Bobby Schmitt, Shane Healey, Taylor Stuart-we didn’t lose a faceoff for the first three quarters.”
Chase Rose worked all 60 minutes between the pipes to pick up the win for Bellarmine, picking up seven saves on the day. Matt Bukovac and Alex Heger split time in goal for the Colonials with Bukovac getting the loss.
Robert Morris, which fell to 0-2 on the season, was paced by Luke Laszkiewicz, who scored three times and registered two assists.
The Knights (1-0) now play their next two games on the road, taking on Marquette on Feb. 20 and Notre Dame on Feb. 24 before returning to Frazier Stadium on Feb. 27 to host Quinnipiac.